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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

How to avoid driver fatigue during your Easter road trip

Stay alert while travelling to your holiday destination this Easter weekend by following these tips to avoid fatigue.

As the country heads into the Easter long weekend with travellers, heading to various holiday destinations, MasterDrive says many drivers may be much more vulnerable to fatigued driving.

This year, the Easter weekend does not fall during the school holidays and many families may have to restrict their travels to the four-day long weekend only.

CEO of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says there are a few things that drivers can do to prevent driving while tired.

“The first, and most ideal, step is to be selective about your travels when you have a time limit. Avoid travelling too far within a short space of time and placing unnecessary pressure on yourself. Rather stay close to home so that you drive refreshed and fully alert and return home without needing a holiday from your holiday.”

Other tips include:

  • Plan your trip to select the best route, schedule regular breaks and to be aware of any driving conditions that can increase fatigue such as long stretches with road works.
  • Pack nutritious snacks that supply a consistent source of energy and avoid food that can result in energy slumps.
  • Ensure you get a good night’s rest before you leave.
  • Share driving duties with someone else in the vehicle and ensure you swap drivers or take a break as soon as you feel drowsy.
  • If stimulants such as coffee help keep you stay alert, make use of these but with the cognisance that they can also cause a slump in energy after a certain amount of time after consuming them.
  •  Make sure children are adequately entertained so that they do not only distract you but also increase fatigue levels.
  • If you are driving alone and you suddenly feel drowsy, it is better to stop for 20 minutes, if there is a safe spot to do so, and rest. This can be a quick nap, if that normally helps you, or taking the opportunity to stretch your legs. Continuing to drive through the drowsiness can be very dangerous.
  • If the cold weather persists be careful of overheating the interior of the car and ensure fresh air is circulating

Herbert says ultimately every driver knows what works best for them when staying refreshed and alert.

“Make sure you undertake these measures If you are travelling this Easter weekend and, particularly, if you are limited to four days. It is a mistake to ignore your drowsiness as it can have tragic consequences for many.”

Meanwhile, authorities have confirmed locust swarms spotted in the Cape Peninsula are expected to migrate to the Free State and urged motorists to exercise caution.  

Truck and Freight reports that whilst farmers say the swarms are not posing a major threat to crops yet, motorists are reporting a different scenario.

Herbert said driving through a swarm can have a major impact on road safety.

“The main reason is because visibility can be severely affected as a large amount of the insects collide with your windscreen.”

Herbert said a swarm of locusts can also potentially damage vehicles by ‘blocking radiators and causing overheating.’

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