JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – As South Africa moves closer to reaching Covid-19’s final peak during the southern winter more pressure is placed on essential workers such as nurses, doctors and emergency crews.
Other workforces will also be challenged as more downtime results in retrenchment and possibly longer hours for current employees. The result: drivers often head home in the early hours, after long shift, vulnerable to a road incident.
If you are one such the best way to avoid a situation is to avoid driving. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, told The Corner: “If you can, arrange for someone to fetch you or use a ride-sharing facility to get home. Yet, reality dictates that this is often hard to arrange.
If you have no choice but to drive yourself in the pre-dawn darkness, here are some tips from the experts:
- Be aware that you are vulnerable to fatigued driving because your internal clock has been disrupted.
- Learn to recognise the signs of exhaustion that make it extremely dangerous to drive: yawning and difficulty remembering the last few hours are warning signs.
- Find another way of getting home if you’re more than normally tired at the end of a shift.
- Sleep during the day before a shift. You’ll need seven to eight hours to function at your best that night.
- Take measures to make your sleep as restful as possible: why not put your phone on airplane mode.
- Be cautious of how much coffee you drink during your shift. Caffeine is a stimulant but when it starts to wear off your energy levels will crash as well.
- Use aids such as music to stimulate you or maintain concentration.
- Avoid over-heating your car’s cabin.
- Find somebody else on your shift who can drive or who can help you stay alert.
- Don’t rush in an attempt to get home faster; rather maintain safe speeds.
- Visit your local optometrist if you have night blindness: spectacles might help.
- Use the lines on the road to re-orientate yourself if blinded by others’ headlights .Keep your windows clean to reduce glare glare.
Studies suggest that 18 hours without sleep is equal to a blood alcohol level of 0.05g/ml, “If you would not get behind the wheel drunk, do not drive while you are tired either. It’s just as dangerous, if not more,” says Herbert.