Stay awake on the roads this holiday season

Did you know that according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, if you have five hours or less sleep at night, it is equivalent to driving drunk the next day?

This lack of sleep often happens the night before a big trip, as getting everything ready for your departure can take time. However, this is also one of the factors that add to the ever- growing number of deaths on our roads over the holidays.

“There are many tell-tale signs that indicate you should pull over the car and stretch your legs,” says Mokete Sekhesa, a brand manager for a company selling a body and mind energy booster.

“If you notice that you can’t keep your eyes open and struggle to stay focused, and the yawning never ends; if your head keeps dropping and you feel irritable and restless, these are the signs that you need to be aware of and take a break.”

The statistics of fatal road accidents over the South African holiday seasons tend to rise ever year, with driver fatigue contributing to this number.

“You need to do what you have to, to stay awake and alert on the roads. This should be the number one priority when travelling on holiday,” says Sekhesa.

Sekhesa suggests the following tips on how to make sure you and your family get to your destination this holiday season:

• Take regular breaks. If you feel that you are getting tired, take a break. Rather take a little longer to get there, than not get there at all.

• When driving on a long trip, plan a 20-minute break every two hours to stretch your legs, get something to eat and have your mind focused on something else other than the road.

• Most road accidents tend to happen between midnight and 6 am – the natural sleeping time. If you can, rather plan your trip after this time. If you can’t, plan regular stops and be aware of your standard of alertness.

• If possible, have a driving buddy. You can share the responsibility of driving, swopping every two hours or so, and ensuring that you don’t take any unnecessary risks.