Carretera
  • Print

Stress, fatigue and drowsiness

Stress

Stress is a state of excessive tension in the organism, which then needs to react to a threatening situation whose origins may be traumatic, toxic, infectious, psychological, etc.

It may be caused by external forces (heat, cold, lightning, heights, noise, etc.) or psychosocial factors (work, emotional situations, fear, anxiety, anger, etc.).

The effects of stress on driving are the following:

  • Problems judging distances and being dazzled when driving at night.
  • Sensation of fear, lack of concentration, headaches and appetite disorders.
  • Tiredness, worry, fatigue, nervousness, restlessness, depression and irritability.
  • Aggressiveness towards other vehicles, passengers or pedestrians.

Recommendations for avoiding stress

  • Regular psychological assessment for professional drivers.
  • Avoid traffic jams, look for routes with light traffic.
  • Engage in activities that prevent or counteract stress.
  • Do not take drugs or drink alcohol.
Stress

Stress reduces your ability to react when driving.

Fatigue

Fatigue or tiredness can be a normal response to physical effort, emotional stress, boredom or lack of sleep. However, it may also be a general symptom of a serious psychological or physiological disorder. It may be mental or physical.

The causes of fatigue when driving may be related to:

  • The driver: bad posture, physical or mental tiredness, drowsiness.
  • The vehicle: The noise of the engine, poor ventilation, etc.
  • External: Monotonous driving conditions, poor road surface, traffic jams.

Recommendations for avoiding fatigue:

  • Take a break every 200 km or every two hours
  • Make sure the car is well ventilated.
  • Eat light meals.
  • Drink water frequently.
Fatigue

Fatigue can be caused by monotonous driving conditions or bad posture, among other factors

Drowsiness

Lack of sleep can lead to risk situations in driving. For example:

  • Diminished ability to react.
  • Loss of concentration regarding the road's trajectory.
  • The driver is more easily distracted.
  • Perception of signs, lights, etc. is affected.
  • The driver becomes tense, nervous or aggressive.

A range of variables can affect a driver's wakefulness:

  • Physical or psychological disorders.
  • As fatigue increases so does drowsiness.
  • Alcohol and certain types of medication increase drowsiness.
  • Long straight roads make driving monotonous.
  • Lack of ventilation leads to drowsiness.

Recommendations for avoiding drowsiness:

  • Stop regularly to break the monotony of driving.
  • Keep the interior of the vehicle well ventilated.
  • Avoid heavy meals immediately before or during the journey.
  • Talk to the other passengers.
  • Stop from time to time and freshen up with cold water.
Drowsiness

Medication can reduce the driver's capacity of perception.