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Driver fatigue: 10 safety tips

2013-06-28 12:35

DRIVER FATIGUE CAN PROVE FATAL:If you’ve just landed after a lengthy flight it’s advisable to take a taxi to your next destination as you may not realise how fatigued you really are until it’s too late.Image: AP

A few years ago, after a prominent road fatality and court case involving a rental vehicle driver who was fatigued after an overnight flight from the US to the UK, Interactive Driving Systems (IDS) conducted research and issued guidance on jet-lag and road safety.

In June 2013, following the road death of a senior executive, who fell asleep at the wheel driving home in the middle of the night following a transatlantic flight, Fleet Magazine reviews the guidance published by IDS.


Jet-lag induced fatigue is a condition most travellers experience when flying across time zones. Extremely long flights can leave travellers exhausted upon arrival and has played a part in a number of road fatalities.

If you’re planning to drive in another country be aware of driving conditions in the country you’re travelling in. This includes driving on the opposite side of the road, driving on ice or snow, unpaved roads or using a vehicle you’re not familiar with (manual, auto or four-wheel drive).

Here are ten suggestions to minimize your risk on the road after a long flight. Those traveling on business trips with colleagues take note:

  • 1 Assuming colleagues absolutely have to travel, make sure their journey is well planned.
  • 2 Before taking a long flight, it is important to focus on the arrival time and journey ahead. Allow realistic travel times and ensure others are aware of the journey.
  • 3  All colleagues travelling internationally, overnight or on flights with significant time zone adjustment, particularly to locations where driving is a different side of the road or with unfamiliar signage, should not use a rental vehicle immediately upon landing. Fatigue will increased your risk of a collision.
  • 4 On arrival, you should use a taxi or hotel shuttle to reach your final destination. On the second day of a trip, colleagues may be allowed to obtain a rental vehicle if it is the only viable and safe travel option.
  • 5 Local shuttle services should be the first choice for transportation. Express rail links to and from airports should be used when suitable. Car services or public transportation should be the second choice with shuttles a consideration for travel to, from and between sites. Taxis and vehicle rental should only be used where other forms of transport are incompatible with your business requirement.
  • 6 If colleagues are arriving late from a long flight, arrange for someone to pick them up at the airport. Do not take unnecessary risks.
  • 7 Never operate a motor vehicle in another country without understanding local driving conditions, customs, laws, road rules and transport alternatives.
  • 8 Business travellers are discouraged from driving in any country where they are unfamiliar with the roads or where driving conditions vary significantly from those in their native country. In some countries, local operating business units or in-country organisations provide drivers for visitors.
  • 9 You must have a valid driver’s licence and an international driver’s licence/permit where required.
  • 10 If renting a vehicle is unavoidable, arrangements should be made through your company’s travel provider. Only colleagues with a valid driving licence/permit and who have been registered as a driver with the rental company, are permitted to drive a rental vehicle.

Subscribe to Fleet Magazine. Email your details to colin@autonews.co.za Subs: R250 pa

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