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Plan Ahead for Your Easter Road Trip, Beat Fatigue

MEDIA RELEASE
18 March 2008

Plan Ahead for Your Easter Road Trip and Beat Fatigue

Planning ahead and scheduling regular breaks into your road-trip could be a life-saving formula this Easter.

With New Zealanders gearing up to get away on their Easter break, ACC will be out reminding drivers to wake up to the dangers of fatigue. Tiredness and fatigue can often affect your driving ability long before you even notice you’re getting tired. But fatigue can be fatal.

In fact, in 2006 at least 40 people lost their lives while almost 1000 people were injured because they, or the driver of the car they were in, succumbed to fatigue.

“The best way to beat fatigue is to be aware of its dangers and how to prevent it,” said ACC’s Judy Buchanan, Programme Manager road safety.

“For a start, drivers should plan ahead so they’re in top condition for their trip. That means not working a full day and then driving for hours, but having a good night’s sleep before they get behind the wheel. Drivers should also give themselves plenty of time to get to their destinations and schedule in regular breaks.”

Ms Buchanan said that is also true for shorter trips. Many fatigue crashes occur during journeys of only one or two hours because drivers think they can manage that distance without much sleep or planning.

“The only cure for fatigue is sleep,” she said. “The big message to drivers is that if they’re struggling to keep their eyes open, yawning repeatedly, day-dreaming, wandering in their lane, or unintentionally speeding up or slowing down, they must stop and sleep.

“A power nap of only twenty minutes can boost energy levels as well as improve driving skills and alertness. Best of all, those twenty minutes could prevent a devastating road crash,” Ms Buchanan said. Other fatigue-busting advice is to drink water, avoid dehydrating caffeine, eat fruit and healthy snacks rather than fatty and sugary food, and to stop every two hours to get out of the car for a break.

“ACC is reminding all its staff about the dangers of driver fatigue and we are encouraging other employers to do the same. Employers can play an important role in ensuring their staff return safely to work next Tuesday,” Judy Buchanan said.

ACC is teaming with Police and local authorities to run Driver Fatigue Stops around the country this Easter, and is also supporting State Insurance’s Driver Reviver stops.

ENDS

www.acc.co.nz, and search for ‘driver fatigue’

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