• font

Driving when tired

Mum and baby

If you’re on a long drive on your own, or with family or friends, always stop if you feel sleepy. Crashes happen easily when you’re tired.

Before a long drive, get plenty of rest. Share the driving if you can. If possible, drive during the day. It’s less tiring.

Signs of tiredness include: 

  • constant yawning
  • drifting over lanes
  • sore eyes
  • trouble keeping your head upright
  • delayed reactions
  • day dreaming
  • difficulty remembering the last few kilometres
  • changing speed without noticing.

Get out of the car, stretch, have some food or a drink. This will help for a short time, but you'll probably feel tired again soon. The best cure for sleepiness is sleep.

Don’t rush, and take plenty of breaks.

  • Rest areas are provided at regular intervals on major sealed roads in country South Australia. Use them if you’ve been driving for a while and you need a break.
  • Driving when tired is more likely to cause crashes on country roads, as country trips often involve long periods of driving. Remember, though, that anyone can be affected by tiredness. Wherever you are, always take a break if you’re feeling tired.
  • It's much safer not to drive at a time when you would normally be asleep.
  • Research shows that not sleeping for more than 17 hours has the same effect on driving as a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.05. Not sleeping for 24 hours has the same effect as having a BAC of 0.10 - double the legal limit.