Drowsy drivers as dangerous as Drunks

DRIVERS have been warned not to jump behind the wheel if they’re feeling fatigued from Christmas celebrations.

Specialists at the Sleep Health Foundation are urging Australian drivers to think twice before heading off on a holiday feeling tired after exhausting themselves over the holiday party season.

“What these drowsy drivers don’t realise is that they’re just as much of a danger as someone who’s been drinking beers all afternoon and is driving home drunk,” says Dr Mark Howard, a Sleep Health Foundation sleep physician specialising in the impact of sleep disorders on driving.


“Most of these people wouldn’t dream of driving drunk so they shouldn’t be driving drowsy either. It’s as simple as that.”

At Christmas time, levels of fatigue are at their highest as people burn the candle at both ends buying presents, cooking food and going to endless festive parties and concerts for their children.

“We find that by the time many people, especially parents, get in the car for their long-awaited and desperately-needed summer break they’re absolutely exhausted and really shouldn’t be getting behind the wheel at all,” Dr Howard says.

Drowsy Driving: The Danger Signs

  • Sleepiness
  • Eyes closing or going out of focus
  • Trouble keeping the head up
  • Cannot stop yawning
  • Wandering thoughts, difficulty concentrating on driving
  • Cannot remember driving the past few kilometres
  • Drifting between lanes, off the road or miss signs
  • Very heavy eyelids
  • Slow blinking

Stay Safe on the Roads this Silly Season

  • Make sure you’ve had at least seven hours sleep the night before a long drive
  • If you have to drive for long periods of time, try to take a short power nap after lunch
  • Share the driving with someone else and help keep each other awake
  • Have a break every two hours, get out of the car and walk around for a few minutes
  • Don’t drive between 1am and 6am
  • Don’t drive if you’ve been awake for more than 17 hours
  • Pull over if you regularly notice difficulty keeping your eyes open, or find yourself relying on loud music, energy drinks or fresh air to stay awake