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Drowsy drivers risk it all on the roads

AAMI urges drivers to stop at Driver Reviver sites this Easter


More than a quarter (26%) of Victorian drivers are putting lives at risk by driving three and a half hours or more without taking a break, according to new research revealed by AAMI.

The findings have promoted AAMI to remind all drivers that driving while tired can be fatal and to take extra care when taking off on holidays throughout the state this Easter long weekend.

Among the key findings, AAMI’s research found that one in five (20%) Victorian motorists would not stop and have a power nap even if they felt tired; despite 21% of drivers admitting to momentarily nodding off at the wheel.

AAMI spokesperson, Angela Wilkinson, said: “When it comes to drowsy driving, it’s the responsibility of motorists to determine when they are too tired to be behind the wheel.  Despite the dangers, sadly many drivers are ignoring the warning signs and not doing enough to prevent fatigue.”

Common signs of fatigue include sore or heavy eyes, loss of attention, daydreaming or ‘zoning out’, difficulty remembering the last few kilometres and drifting in your lane of traffic.

“If you nod off at 100km/hour, you can travel more than 100 metres in just four seconds, while unconscious,” said Ms Wilkinson. “That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the early signs of fatigue and rest or change drivers at least every two hours.

“An easy way to avoid fatigue is to not drive at times when you would normally be asleep or tired. It’s very common for holiday makers to hit the road after work on the evening before a holiday starts or very early on the first day of a holiday to beat traffic, but the danger with this is that you’re constantly fighting the urge to fall asleep.”

More than 40 Driver Reviver sites will operate across Victoria this Easter weekend, providing free tea, coffee, biscuits and more to help motorists rest and refresh in a staffed and safe environment.

Victoria SES Chief Officer Operations Trevor White said: “So far in 2016, we’ve had 68 fatalities on Victorian roads. That’s up 28.3% from the same time last year*. That’s 68 people who won’t be celebrating Easter with their families this year.

“Victorian SES volunteers attended more than 917 road rescue incidents in the past year. We would much rather have a friendly chat and serve you a cuppa at a Driver Reviver site than be faced with the trauma of cutting you out of your vehicle after a collision.”

If you’re taking a trip over Easter, visit a Driver Reviver site to take a break. For more information and a full list of sites and their operating hours, visit: www.ses.vic.gov.au/driverreviver

AAMI’s top tips for safe driving this Easter weekend:

  • Don’t drive at times when you would normally be asleep or tired.
  • Take a break from driving at least every two hours to help fight driver fatigue.
  • Make use of the Driver Reviver sites and change drivers at each rest stop.
  • Allow extra time and take a powernap if tired.
  • Caffeine, energy drink or loud music will not always work to help fight fatigue. Sleep or rest is the only answer.
  • Slow down while driving at night, especially when driving through the country as wildlife and other hazards are harder to spot in the dark.

* Road Toll figures correct from 10 March, 2016. Provided by Transport Accident Commission (TAC) at https://www.tac.vic.gov.au/road-safety/statistics/road-toll-year-to-date

About the research - Newspoll conducted an independent internet survey of 4097 Australian drivers, including 600 Victorian Australian drivers, 18 years of age and over, in 2015.  Data was collected in line with ISO 20252 – Market, Social and Opinion Research and has been weighted with current ABS population demographics to ensure any extrapolation of results is representative of age, sex and area.

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