The Fatigue Crash Facts contain the latest summary of fatigue related crash data including graphs and tables.
Fatigue is a physiological condition that can occur long before you fall asleep at the wheel. It has negative impact on your reaction time, your ability to concentrate and your general understanding of the road and traffic around you. The three main causes of fatigue are:
- Sleep loss - This is the most commonly known cause of fatigue. Different individuals require different levels of sleep, although the average is 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day. If you don't get a full nights sleep then it's likely to cause fatigue, and it can build up over time if your sleep continues to be restricted.
- Circadian rhythms - Everybody has a built in body clock in the brain that biologically determines when we will feel sleepy. These circadian rhythms program us to feel at our most sleepy between 3am and 5am in the morning, and between 3 pm and 5 pm in the afternoon.
- Time spent driving/Working/etc - Research shows that the longer someone spends driving without a break, the greater their level of fatigue. Also, the time spent in other activities such as work, school, etc, before driving can increase fatigue and affect subsequent driving.