Sleepiness at the wheel is an underestimated problem

According to international research, up to one fifth of all accidents are due to fatigue. In the late evening and at night, the percentage is even higher. Coffee and a power nap are the advice.

Our southern neighbors are now asking for extra attention for the consequences of fatigue in traffic. Last December, the Flemish Traffic Science Foundation (VSV) conducted research into sleepiness in traffic. In collaboration with the police and Chrono@Work, a spin-off of the University of Groningen, she carried out sleepiness measurements in Belgium.

The sleepiness measurements show that 1 in 3 car drivers is driving during a late drive (between 10 p.m. – 2 a.m.) in his or her “biological night”. The melatonin levels of the ‘night’ drivers are such that their biological clocks direct sleep. As a result, they are less alert and have up to 30% more risk of being involved in an accident.

SWOV, the Dutch scientific institute for road safety research, has also previously conducted studies into fatigue in traffic. (Source: SWOV research). Fatigue rears its head not only when driving at night, but also when driving too long.

The risks in traffic are considerable and fatigue is an underestimated problem.
• Sleepiness is one of the five biggest risk factors in traffic.
• The risk of an accident increases four to six times if you are sleepy.

Interesting prevention campaign in Belgium

The Flemish Ministry of Mobility emphasizes that motorists underestimate the risk of driving at night. The VSV launched a major campaign at the beginning of this month to draw extra attention to the problem. (Source: VSV)
The message of the new prevention campaign against drowsy driving is: ‘Drink coffee and take a power nap’.

Drinking coffee and a short nap (12-15 min power nap) are the only solutions to boost alertness during late rides and limit the risk of fatigue. The campaign in Belgium is supported with online video’s showing the results of the sleepiness tests. Interesting to watch.

Make sure you drink a cup of coffee and take a power nap during a late car ride. Preferably do this before you get in the car. Stopping in a parking lot to take a power nap is less pleasant and often the fatigue has already ‘settled’.

Powernap before getting in the car

More and more employers are facilitating a recovery moment in the workplace. They offer their staff the opportunity to take a power nap at work. Are you working late? Then don’t leave in a hurry, because you want to go home, but give yourself another fifteen minutes to get some extra energy and take a power nap.

In a good power nap chair you can comfortably and relaxed ‘refuel’ before you get into the car in the evening. Get fit behind the wheel.

Press release: Belgian campaign ‘Drink coffee and take a power nap’.