Driving Fatigued - jaycoventryuni
Firstly let me introduce myself, my name is James Partridge and I?m currently a fourth year student studying Automotive Design at Coventry University. For my major project I plan to examine how a driver?s disposition impacts on their driving experiences. This will help me to arrive at a final design that can alleviate driver stress. I would greatly appreciate your co-operation by assisting me with my investigation through answering the question below, Thank you!

Scenario: It?s been a long day, its dark and you have been driving for an hour on the motorway. You are feeling increasingly fatigued but your destination is only 30 minutes away.

How would you react/ deal with this situation?

How long have you been a driver?
Driving Fatigued - Blue {P}
I'd just press on, perhaps open a window to assist and would almost certainly eat a bar of chocolate or something, that normally boosts me for another half hour or so.

If I found I was getting really bad (like eyes closing bad) then I would pull in for 10 minutes to relax, walk around the car and eat something.

I've been driving for 9 years. wow! that makes me feel old, I can still remember passing my test, thanks for that.

Edited by Dynamic Dave on 02/11/2009 at 19:53

Driving Fatigued - Alanovich
I'd echo Blue's response 100%.

I've been driving for 22 years.
Driving Fatigued - Happy Blue!
A common situation. I would drive on. Possibly decrease temp inside the car, tune to a talk radio station (I am usually on Radio 4 anyway).

Likely that within the next 30 mins there will be a change of road pattern leading to increased alertness (e.g. coming off motorway onto A roads with need for increased vigilance and attention to traffic lights etc.

I have once passed the driving baton to my wife when I was very tired and felt dangerous.

Driving for 28 years
Driving Fatigued - mike hannon
I'd probably carry on, but open windows and suck a sweetie (which is in the car for that purpose because I frequently find myself driving for quite long periods).
Been riding and driving 43 years (sigh...).
Driving Fatigued - 1400ted
Long distance driving of a beakdown truck, perhaps after a day's running around doing local jobs, often brought on fatigue.
I would stop as soon as possible and get 20 to 30 mins of sleep. I also found a good cigar helped to perk me up.
46 yrs on road.

Driving Fatigued - Rattle
Last time I drove tired I thought I was ok when I set off but increasingly become tired. There was a road with road works and I was so tired I saw the temp lights and was getting ready to stop for them, the problem is the stop sign was 150 metres in front of the lights so I completly missed the stop here when lights red sign! Legally I think it wasn't legal to have the lights so far away from the stop here sign but I always beat myself up over it ever since. I stopped straight after and got something to eat, had a half an hour rest and drove from east to west Manchester without any further problems :).

The problem is sometimes I feel perfectly fine when i set off but half way through or the return journey I get tired. These days if I have been up very late working and up early the next morning the next day I just won't drive. Now I know I am fratigued so and now I have seen the silly mistakes I make when tired I am not going to take the rest :). I would say twice a month I won't drive because I am over tired. People may laugh but I've had friends over turning their cars as a result of being tired its not worth the risk.
Driving Fatigued - NARU
Having been in the situation where I was probably close to being asleep once, and horrified at the potential consequences, I'd do one of the following (in this order):

Change drivers if one is available
Stop and the next services or exit and grab a 20-minute sleep
Stop at the next services and take a 5-minute walk, especially if its chilly outside
Come off the motorway and take a back road, forcing me to stay awake

I find that the radio makes no impact when I'm that tired, nor turning the temperature to cold

Driving cars since 1983, motorbikes since 1996.

Edited by Marlot on 02/11/2009 at 15:44

Driving Fatigued - b308
Would agree with Marlot except if I came off the motorway I'd do what he suggested at the service, stop and walk!

Driving since 1974...
Driving Fatigued - CGNorwich
Get off the motorway, get some air and if available a strong cup of black coffee. Normally take a flask on long journeys. Strong coffee really does delay the effects of fatigue.
Driving Fatigued - bell boy
have a good nip from my hip flask open the window and suck a mint imperial
Driving Fatigued - Ben 10
Press on.

26 years.
Driving Fatigued - Dave_TD
I've been at the point of nodding off, usually in the early hours on a long overnighter, several times in the past. My remedy was always to put on some very loud, high energy music (drum'n'bass being my preference) or something really lively to sing along to - seriously full-blast karaoke style singing. Occasionally something I liked but hadn't heard in ages would come on the radio which had much the same livening-up effect - I would often find myself thanking the DJ out loud for his choice at the end of it! That and coffee and/or generic taurine-based energy drinks, most supermarkets sell an own-brand version of the popular one which works out at 1/10th the price per litre.

I have been driving for exactly 20 years funnily enough, as it's my 37th birthday today. I have always been a keen motorist and have driven 100,000 miles a year as a minicab driver for 9 years and more recently 60,000 miles a year as a lorry driver.

Edited by Dave_TD {P} on 02/11/2009 at 16:51

Driving Fatigued - NorfolkDriver
Half hour from home? Feeling tired?

I would hope that I was awake as I would have just come over a roundabout at either Swaffham or Thetford :) The drive from either point is good enough to keep me on edge, so to speak.

If I were somewhere else, with half hour left, I would probably press on with the window open. Possibly pull in for a quick walk round.

Driving for 26 years now, blimey I feel old :)

Edited by Webmaster on 04/11/2009 at 01:29

Driving Fatigued - Lud
Driving about 50 years. I can only remember one or two occasions when there was any serious tendency to fall asleep at the wheel. When that happens the only thing to do is stop. Usually though physical fatigue doesn't much affect the narrow and specific form of mental alertness needed for driving. The problem may be getting to sleep at the end of the journey.
Driving Fatigued - Stryder
I'm only an occasionaly long distance driver, don't have to do it day in day out

So far I've never been too tired after one hour, but after 2 - 3 hours high speed motorway driving after a long day then that could happen.

If I am 30 minutes near home then I would of passed the last motorway service station before home, so I would press on.

If the wife was with me I would ask her to drive.

Generally I try to avoid being placed in this situation. For example at the moment I am with a client who is 2.5 hours fast motorway driving from home for two consecutive days. I am staying overnight to cut down on the amount of driving.

Personally I find it hard to adjust to non motorway driving late when I am tired and after a long time on the motorway, so I try to be extra cautious e.g. at the last roundabout before home.

Driving 18 years.

Driving Fatigued - FotheringtonThomas
It?s been a long day its dark and you have been driving for an hour on the
motorway. You are feeling increasingly fatigued but your destination is only 30
minutes away. How would you react/ deal with this situation?

If there's a nearby junction, get off the motorway, and have a quick bracer at the nearest watering-hole, and a nice chat to the barmaid. Exchange telephone numbers, then carry on driving suitably refreshed.
How long have you been a driver?

I can't quite remember, but ages.
Driving Fatigued - AshT
If possible I'd stop at the next services for coffee and a cigarette, otherwise slow down, open the window, and turn the stereo up. SWMBO usually keeps the kids entertained on a long drive which is probably more tiring than the driving.

I was stupid enough to fall asleep at the wheel once in my youth. Went to a party in Wells, and as I was working late and going straight to the party from work I agreed to stay off the drink and take a couple of friends home. We left about 3 am, and the car bounced over a kerb going up Wells Hill. The bump from the kerb was just enough to jerk me awake as we went up the verge and I managed to swing the car back onto the road. Mu passengers were either inebriated enough not to notice or too polite to comment on my driving....

I've always been careful about driving when tired after that - a literal wake up call.

I've been driving for over 20 years now, that incident happened about 2 or 3 years after passing my test.
Driving Fatigued - bristol01
Hello James,

I'd pull over and stretch my legs for ten minutes and splash cold water on my face if possible. Otherwise wind down the window(s). All the best for your research.

Driving for 23 years.
Driving Fatigued - PhilW
Either stop and get SWMBO to take over or stop and have a small cigar, a double espresso and a walk around. I find the worst time for feeling like a kip is one hour after eating some lunch! Don't think this is due to fatigue - just the effects of food! Sometimes a few fruitgums are enough to wake me up fully again! (Sugar boost??)
Odd thing is, this "need to drowse" only affects me in my own car on long leisure trips. Work at the moment is delivering cars and is usually at least a 12 hour day ( 6am to 6 pm though often longer) I never feel "fatigued" enough to be drowsy and I have no idea why this is - but I wonder if other "professional" drivers are the same?
Been driving since 1965
Driving Fatigued - Alby Back
Never felt drowsy while driving. Too much going on. Sometimes feel tired though, different thing. Black coffee and Marlboro when necessary I'm afraid. 34 years driving. Lots of miles / hours.
Driving Fatigued - 1066
press on and start chain smoking with the window open.
may slow down a little bit but not much
Driving Fatigued - honeybear
Before starting my mid-life health regime I found that window open, ciggie, red bull worked well. In this case I would push on, driver for 22 years.
Driving Fatigued - Harleyman
If I'm on my own in the lorry; as soon as I feel tired, light a cigarette, open window, turn off at next junction or pull into services whichever's first. Have a pee, drink a cup of black coffee if I've any left in the flask, carry on.

If in car and wife's with me, forego initial cigarette but instigate conversation. Have cigarette at services anyway then she will drive home.

On bike; different matter, you might feel physically tired but never sleepy tired.

Biker for 33 years, car and HGV for 30.
Driving Fatigued - BB
I would carry on but light a ciggy to help. Happy that I was only 30 mins from my destination.

Regular driver from Chichester to Bradford and back most weekends.

Driver for 17 years, 40,000 miles a year for many years.
Driving Fatigued - scouseford
In 1965 I had to drive from the Wirral to Wimbledon for a job interview. From memory the interview was at 2.00pm and I set off at 7.30am. There was not a lot of motorway in those days and I decided to drive to Watford Junction and complete the journey by rail. The trip down went to plan but took ages (almost as long from Watford to Wimbledon as Wirral to Watford). I set off on the return journey at about 3.00pm and as I got into my car at Watford station it began to rain. I had the most horrendous road journey of my life which resulted in me falling asleep at the wheel coming north up the M6. Fortunately, I woke up whilst travelling on the hard shoulder and no damage was done. I pulled off at the next junction and took a nap in my Ford Anglia. I don't think that reclining seats had even been thought of in those days but certainly the Anglia didn't have them so my cat nap would have been uncomfortable but it did the trick. I got home safely having learned a lesson that has stayed with me ever since - never drive on when tiredness takes over. It's surprising how a 10 minute nap can recharge the attention span and in your example I would pull over, take a nap, and then drive home very circumspectly

I passed my test in 1962 (and didn't get the job, by the way).
Driving Fatigued - kayks
Been driving 21 years, lots of motorway miles ...

If fatigued and driving long distance, and about 30 mins from destination, I would press on and actually increase my speed. Adrenaline rush makes me more alert. Slowing down to say, 60, I know I would nod off. Otherwise take a break & walk, make the car a little colder inside, get more fresh air (open windows), drink full-fat coke/coffee. I find there is usually a "hump" when you feel tired and sleepy, get over that initial "hump" you get a second wind that will last about 2-3 hours.