“Drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in 24 hours almost double their risk of a crash” – South African Road Federation. Research also shows that a driver who slept for less than five hours has the accident risk similar to someone who is driving drunk.

It is sobering that driving without having enough sleep increases your risk of being involved in an accident so much. But let’s be honest, missing a few hours of sleep for a work deadline is a reality for many people today. But you cannot expect to drive the same way you would if you had slept enough, or to deal with the demands of traffic the same way when you are fatigued. Here’s what you can do to be safer on the road if you have missed some hours of sleep.

Avoid driving 

The best thing to do when you are fatigued and sleep-deprived is not to drive at all. It may be inconvenient, but this is the best thing to do for your safety. Use the Gautrain on such a day. Not only will you be safe, but we’ll also reward you with Safe Dayz™ if you use the train for all your travels on that day. 

• Don’t use cruise control; keep your body involved in the driving.
• Avoid listening to soft music.
• Switch radio stations frequently.
• Keep the temperature in the car cool.
• Avoid reclining your seat too much to avoid being too comfortable.

Not sure if you’re too tired to drive? Here are some signs to look out for: 

• Yawning continuously
• Drifting from lanes
• Impatience
• Heavy eyes
• Drifting into daydreams

You might also want to read this post on winter driving safety tips.