Driver fatigue is believed to contribute to a big percentage of road crashes worldwide and experts across the board recommend resting or short breaks to beat it. According to the ROP, nine persons were killed in road accidents due to fatigue in 2016.
“Drivers who take to the roads without sufficient rest expose themselves and the rest of the road users to danger. In 2016, traffic statistics identified nine persons who died due to exhaustion while driving,” an ROP official said.
According to Ali al Barwani, CEO, Oman Road Safety Association (ORSA), fatigue is one of the four road killers in Oman. “Road accident deaths that occur in Oman are mainly caused due to speeding, failure to use seat belts, use of mobile phones and fatigue,” Barwani told Muscat Daily. He added that drowsiness while driving is a major cause for road fatalities and it is important that drivers identify how tired they are before getting behind the wheel.
“Most fatigue-related accidents occur particularly during Ramadan, Eid or weekends and summer. Fatigue is a likely factor in many single-vehicle crashes during long drives. However it is just as relevant for short-distance drives too.”
Maulid al Dhawi, who drives from Amerat to Ma’abela every day for work, said, “I sleep late everyday after midnight and still wake up early before sunrise for prayers and drive to work. I beat fatigue by having early morning coffee. Sometimes, it is tough to drive but I have to do it to reach my workplace.”
Barwani said that people generally don’t get fatigued due to driving but for other reasons. “Driving after long hours at work or for lack of enough sleep are some of the reasons for fatigue. The only way to fight fatigue is to sleep properly. Having coffee is not a solution,” Barwani said. He said those between the ages of 18 to 35 think they are fit enough to drive even when fatigued. “Drivers in the age group of 18-35 think they are fit to drive even if they don’t sleep, but this is not always the reality. Many lives worldwide have been lost due to fatigue,” he said.
Barwani advises drivers to stop immediately when feeling sleepy. “Stop the vehicle and immediately take a break if sleepy. Stop at least for 15 minutes after every two hours to beat fatigue when on long drives.” He adds, “A short break can help the driver get refreshed. People should not be in a rush to reach the destination. Journey times should be planned by including breaks as well.”