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WATCH: Shedding some light on driving in the dark in SA

2018-08-08 09:04

Robin Classen

Image: iStock

Driving in the dark is a risk and one that requires total concentration and focus, not only for yourself but other road users as well.

Vision on the road and that of your surroundings will be limited but there are a few things to keep in mind, reports Arrive Alive.

A few things to know

The first step actually begins outside of the car. If you are fatigued and tired, there is no point in getting behind the wheel as you pose a risk to yourself and other road users.

WATCH: Understanding driver fatigue and how incredibly dangerous it can be on SA's roads

It goes without saying that speeding is out of the question. Being courteous on the road by not using your brights and keeping a safe following distance drastically reduces the risk of an accident.

More safety tips from Arrive Alive

As driving is a safety critical task it is essential that you manage your tiredness on a long term basis by ensuring that you get regular good quality sleep. You also need to plan your journeys to include regular breaks at least every 2 hours.

Even with the best preparation possible, there will be times when you might have problems maintaining alertness behind the wheel. In these situations the best short-term advice is:

• If you are feeling tired STOP DRIVING.
• Park somewhere safe.
• Don’t park on the hard shoulder. If you’re on the motorway, take the next exit and find somewhere safe to park, or stop at the next motorway service area.
• If necessary call someone to let them know you may be late.
• Have a couple of cups of strong coffee.
• Followed by a 15-20 minute nap.

Caffeine takes about 20 minutes to take effect, so use this "window of opportunity" to have a short nap of no more than 15-20 minutes.

If you sleep for much longer than 20 minutes you can fall into a deep sleep and wake up feeling groggy (this feeling is known as sleep inertia). Please make sure you lock the doors before settling down for your nap.

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