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Driver Fatigue

Driving when tired significantly increases the risk of having an accident/crash. Statistically it has been proven to be as dangerous as drink driving.

The company's driving at work policy ought to include a specific fatigue policy with suitable guidance incorporated into the Driver's Handbook.

To minimise this risk of fatigue, drivers should follow the following guidance:

Before the Journey:

  • Get good nights sleep before a long journey.
  • Plan journeys to ensure regular rest breaks can be taken.
  • Understand the increased risk that illness, medication, drink and drugs add to potential fatigue.
  • Understand the signs of becoming tired.

During the Journey:

  • It is a well-known fact that certain activity such as walking and stretching triggers the sympathetic nervous system and helps keep drivers alert. Some foods and substances can also temporarily increase alertness. 
  • There are a number of measures that managers and drivers can take to decrease but not prevent the onset of fatigue on a journey. Examples are:
    1. Temperature: Cool dry air, especially on your face, helps keep drivers alert.
    2. Sound: Irregular or variable sounds e.g. conversation can stimulate alertness.
    3. Environmental light: bright light tends to increase alertness while dim light leads to drowsiness.
    4. Aroma: Studies have found that some smells e.g. peppermint makes people more alert. Others, like lavender, have a sedative effect.
    5. When drivers feel sleepy, instead of fighting it, they should stop at the nearest safe place.
      • Stop and park safely
      • Have a high energy or caffeinated drink
      • Set their alarm or mobile phone
      • Take a 'powernap' for no more than 15 minutes
      • Do not drive until fully alert

The company should have a clear policy on the use of overnight accommodation where practical.

Useful Motor Risk Templates are available for you to download free of charge - visit our ‘Tools and Templates' section.

For more information on useful products and services to help you manage your vehicles and drivers view our Specialist Partners

For more information on Aviva Risk Solutions, please call 0345 366 6666  or email us at

Please Note
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.

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