Fatigue facts reveal the silent road killer
RACQ has released a video today highlighting tired drivers as one of the biggest dangers on our roads, contributing to about one in five road fatalities.
RACQ's Steve Spalding said most motorists were unaware of the dangers of driving fatigued, with high-risk times being mid-afternoon and between midnight and dawn.
"As a society, we're only just becoming aware of how drastically fatigue affects basic functions, such as reaction time and peripheral vision," Mr Spalding said.
"Tests have shown that driving on less than five hours sleep triples the risk of having a crash and just being awake for 17 hours is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.05%.
"It's scary to consider that this is a risk many motorists are taking on a daily basis."
Mr Spalding said that unlike the other fatal five risks - distraction, speed, alcohol and not wearing a seatbelt - it was almost impossible to police fatigue.
"Driving fatigued isn't just about falling asleep at the wheel, because your reaction time and peripheral vision are affected well before your head starts to nod," he said.
The RACQ video features specialists from the Mater Hospital's Queensland Sleep Disorders Unit, who provided valuable input on the physiological effects of sleep deprivation.
"People use all kinds of techniques to stay awake behind the wheel but the reality is that the only cure for fatigue is sleep," Mr Spalding said.
The RACQ TV episode on fatigue can be viewed at www.youtube.com/racqofficial.