You can't
 fight sleep

What can I do to avoid
drowsy driving?


  • Plan a break at least every two hours
  • Consider swapping drivers
  • Pull over for a 15 minute powernap
  • Avoid driving at times when you would usually be sleeping
  • Aim to get enough quality sleep before driving – regardless of whether the trip is a long or short one. A healthy adult needs on average between 7-9 hours of sleep to function properly
  • Make use of rest stop locations

Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving is dangerous and potentially deadly. If you're already behind the wheel when you start to feel drowsy, the best remedy is to pull over and have a 15 minute powernap.

You may think you can push through drowsiness, but you can't fight sleep. All day, sleep inducing chemicals build up in your brain. They eventually reach a tipping point, sending you off to sleep, which can happen any time and anywhere. The best way to avoid drowsy driving is to get a good night's sleep.

Fatigue, including ‘drowsy driving’ is a contributing factor in between 16-20% of all road crashes in Victoria.

What are the
signs of drowsiness?

Physiological signs of drowsiness:

  • Feeling sleepy
  • Frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
  • Slowing of brain activity
  • Eyes closing or going out of focus
  • Rubbing your eyes
  • Yawning may increase
  • Feeling restless 
  • Trouble keeping your head up or head nodding

Behavioural signs of drowsiness:

  • trouble remembering the last few kilometres driven, missing exits or traffic signs
  • drifting from your lane, tailgating, hitting a shoulder rumble strip or difficulty maintaining a consistent, correct speed
  • seeking stimulation in an effort to remain awake, such as winding down the window or turning up the radio
  • Difficulty focusing, shortened attention span
  • Slower reaction times
  • Poor concentration and reduced alertness

Read a case study of a crash involving drowsy driving

Read about the science of sleep

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