Small lapse all it takes
No reward for being the fastest and not completing the trip
‘‘ We know that brain breaks are important and that concentrating for long periods of time actually adds to fatigue...
HASN’T this first part of the year gone by quickly? Here we are and it’s nearly Easter already and with that in mind many will be planning a break, family holiday or escape. That means, if you’re driving, putting yourself and others at risk as our roads clog with cars, caravans, campers and four-wheel drives, and drivers who all intend to be somewhere other than where they are as the drive unfolds.
What’s the risk? When we think about loading up the car, the family and the camper trailer we get ourselves into a state of planning and take a journey into the future as we visualise what we need and why, packing accordingly and that’s fine – and necessary.
What happens next though, is that we set out on our journey and become comfortable in our metal cocoon rather than focus on the driving. We will, after a time, become caught by the thought of what’s going to happen when we get there, the mood in the car, the traffic around us, our internal thoughts and myriad other distractions. These things take us away from the very serious responsibility of controlling more than a ton of metal travelling at between 80 and 110kmh.
It is nearly impossible not to do this.
We know that brain breaks are important and that concentrating for long periods of time actually adds to fatigue and therefore contributes to the risk. As a young policeman, I saw first-hand the devastation that a lack of concentration or a distraction can do to the human body. I have had to knock on the door to give the news that a beloved family member is never – never – coming home again. It is terrible and I feel for those first responders whenever I hear of another life lost in the carnage on our roads.
Personally, I have driven hundreds of thousands of kilometres across this country and several others and it took me time to get it. I can’t beat the fatigue, or the distractions and neither can you. If you truly want to keep your loved ones and yourself safe this Easter and you are travelling then here’s a tip – for what it’s worth: Be here now. Wherever that is, be in the moment, make the driving itself interesting, do the sweep across your line of sight every few seconds and look for anomalies.
What that means is look from the road ahead of you (and ideally you are driving about three to four vehicles in front not one car ahead). Sweep to the left rearview mirror, back across the windscreen up to your rearview mirror across to your right mirror and repeat. Check your speedo and drive to the conditions. Pull over and take a break – there’s no reward for being fastest on the road and not completing the trip.
Travel safely with your loved ones and have a wonderful Easter break.
◗ Concentrate on the road and deliver your precious cargo safely this Easter