Fatigue is estimated to be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road collisions. These types of crashes tend to be high speed impacts resulting in death or serious injury, because a driver or rider who has fallen asleep cannot brake or swerve.
Never ride if you're tired, particularly at night. Be aware of the signs of fatigue and make regular stops to get off the bike and stretch your legs. Don't forget to drink lots of fluid (non-alcoholic) - dehydration can make you tired and lose concentration.
Riders and drivers will be aware that they are feeling sleepy, and must make a conscious decision to stop for a rest. Ignoring or underestimating the risks of continuing a journey when tired is naive and irresponsible.
Crashes caused by tired drivers are most likely to happen:
- on long journeys on monotonous roads, such as motorways
- between 2am and 6am
- between 2pm and 4pm (especially after eating, or taking even one alcoholic drink)
- after having less sleep than normal
- after drinking alcohol/taking drugs
- if taking medicines that cause drowsiness
- after long working hours or on journeys home after long shifts, especially night shifts
Most methods riders and drivers use to try to keep themselves awake and alert on the road are ineffective, and should only be regarded as emergency measures to allow time to find somewhere safe to stop. Drinking at least 150mg of caffeine and taking a nap of around 15 minutes are the only measures that help to reduce sleepiness, for a temporary period.
Plan your journey to include regular rest breaks (at least 15 minutes every two hours) and if necessary plan an overnight stop.