How to avoid having a fatigue related crash

Plan ahead

  • Be sure you get several good nights’ sleep in the week before your road trip. Decide how far you’ll go each day and where you’ll take breaks along the way. Stopping to see something interesting can make a holiday journey fun.

Avoid driving at high-risk times

You’re more likely to be affected by fatigue if you drive:
between midnight and 6am
between 1pm and 3pm, when many of us have an energy ‘slump’
during the hours when you would normally be asleep.

On the road

Share driving if you can. Stop regularly every couple of hours for a refreshing break out of the car. Don’t think you can beat driver fatigue by drinking caffeinated drinks, winding down the windows or playing loud music.

Keep alert

Eat light and often, and avoid big meals of sugary or fatty food, which can sap your energy. Drink lots of water to keep hydrated – this will help keep you alert. If you’re a front seat passenger stay awake. You can play a vital role in helping your driver stay alert.

What should you do if you feel tired?

If you feel drowsy or are struggling to concentrate, STOP. Don’t ‘hang on until you get there’. If you can, switch drivers or have a 20 minute ‘power nap’. It’s important you don’t sleep for longer than 20 minutes or you may go into deep sleep which can be hard to wake up from.

If you do stop to have a nap, Never Sleep in the driver seat – Don’t teach your body it’s ok to sleep in the driver’s seat.

Remember, if you’re tired, you shouldn’t be driving – you should be asleep!

wArning signs of driver fAtigue:

    • Blinking frequently or yawning
    • Missing road signs or intersections
    • Slow reaction time

Insurance companies driver Training requirements

1.         Driver Training

 Drivers should be trained in the skills of defensive driving. This style of driving teaches the drivers to anticipate an event before it occurs and to react accordingly. This enables the skilled driver to take evasive action before an accident can occur. Not only will this type of training help to avoid accidents but will also result in reduced general operating costs because of the professional driving habits developed by the driver.

2.         Standing Instructions

 2.1        Standing Instructions, incorporating a copy of all standard forms, should be drawn up for each type of vehicle used. See Annexure A for a general example.

2.2       A copy of the relevant Standing Instructions must be issued to all new employees permitted or required to drive a company vehicle.

2.3       Training must be given to each new employee, the provisions of the Standing Instructions explained, and acknowledgement signatures obtained.

2.4       No persons suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs should be permitted to drive.

3.         Induction and In-Service Training

3.1       Goods Vehicles
3.1.1    Drivers of goods vehicles should undergo regular re-training at a minimum of two yearly intervals. Re-training must also be considered after serious road accidents.
3.1.2    Where no in-house training facilities exist the services of the nearest in-service training centre should be used.
3.1.3    The re-training programme should include: Functions of the main components of a vehicle; Basic fire fighting and first aid procedures; Breakdown procedures; Procedures to be followed in the event of a motor accident; Legal aspects of driving.
3.1.4.   Annual medical examinations.

Driver re-training should include an annual medical and optometric examination in respect of goods vehicle drivers.

3.2       Advanced Driver Training
3.2.1. A course in Advanced Driver Training should be considered for all employees who travel on company business with particular attention being given to those covering long distances.
3.2.2. All Employees using vehicles covered by a company insurance policy, such as in the case of Company Vehicles or Allowance Vehicles, who experience an accident where the driver is involved in one or more accident over a period of two consecutive insurance years and is deemed to have been at fault, are required to pass a recognised advanced driver training course which must include exposure to a “Skid Pan” facility.

3.3       Vehicles Restricted to Company Premises
This category of driver should undergo regular in-service training and retraining.

4.         Driver Motivation

                 4.1        Goods Vehicles

The following methods can be used to motivate drivers:
4.1.1 Introduction of a monthly or annual award in the form of a badge or vehicle sticker, based on regular vehicle inspections, tachograph or similar readings and accident-free driving.
4.1.2 Publication of details of training results and awards.
4.1.3 Payment of a cash bonus. (Bonuses must complement not supplement normal wages.)
4.1.4 Setting goals to reduce the motor vehicle accident frequency rate.
4.1.5 Having “open door” communication and sound labour relations policies in force.

4.2       Other Vehicles
4.2.1 Drivers of all other vehicles can be motivated to improve their risk control record by the publication of the company motor vehicle accident frequency rates. Attempts to improve this figure will have a motivating effect.



 1.1       Drivers will operate vehicles in compliance with company rules, applicable laws and regulations, in accordance with accepted principles of safe driving.
1.2       Drivers will not sign on for duty unless in a fit state. Drivers will report any sickness or illness immediately to the MFC or relevant supervisor and will also report to him/her when they are receiving any kind of medication.
1.3       Drivers are not permitted to partake of liquor or drugs whilst on driving duty, nor is any person suspected to be under the influence of liquor or drugs permitted to drive. Where appropriate, breathalyser tests should be carried out.
1.4       Drivers will ensure that vehicles are correctly loaded and that the loads are adequately secured.
1.5       Drivers and Loading Supervisors are responsible to ensure no overloading and the correct load distribution/balance.
1.6      Drivers must be in possession of a valid driver’s licence as well as their PrDP (Professional Driving Permit), if applicable, and no driver is permitted to drive a vehicle for which he/she is not licensed.
1.7       Drivers will ensure that all goods carried are supported by the correct documentation. Vehicles will be subjected to search by officials of the company at any time.
1.8       Drivers will not leave their vehicles unattended whilst on duty. They will be held responsible for the vehicle loads. When leaving the vehicle, keys will be removed from the ignition, windows will be rolled up and all doors and compartments will be locked.
1.9       Drivers are not permitted to carry unauthorised persons or goods. The picking up of hitch hikers, passengers or any other persons apart from crew members is strictly forbidden unless authorised. Cab doors will be locked while driving.
1.10    Drivers are responsible for the safety and discipline of crew members and passengers.
1.11     Drivers will ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy, serviceable and clean. The pre-start checklist must be completed at the commencement of duty and handed to the relevant supervisor before leaving the premises. In the event that any unsafe or unroadworthy aspects have been identified on the checklist, these must be rectified before the vehicle leaves the premises.
1.12     Drivers will exercise care when responding to signals to stop from any person. When stopping at the instruction of a third party, drivers will not leave their cabs until they are reasonably satisfied that the request to leave the cab is safe and lawful.
1.13    Drivers are not permitted to deviate from planned routes, except in emergencies.
1.14     Drivers will follow company procedures during long hauls as directed by the MFC or relevant supervisor.
1.15     Drivers will not be permitted to take company vehicles home without prior authority from the MFC or relevant supervisor. Where vehicles are taken to a residential area, adequate arrangements must be made for the security of the vehicle and its load.
1.16     Drivers will properly use and care for all equipment assigned to them for the performance of their duties.
1.17     Drivers will be responsible for completion of all vehicle documents and records as.required by company procedures.


2.1       No alterations or additions are to be made to allocated motor vehicles, e.g. fitting a tow bar, radio, air conditioning, roof rack, sun roof, lights, etc without the authority of the MFC or relevant supervisor.
2.2       Under no circumstances will these vehicles be used for any other purpose, than that intended (e.g. motor sports, rallying).
2.3       The employee must not allow any other person, including other employees or members of his family, to use the allocated vehicle except in terms of company policy.
2.4       No company-owned vehicle will be permitted to leave the Republic of South Africa or the country/state of registration without the authority of the MFC or relevant supervisor.
2.5      Prior authority must be obtained to use a company vehicle whilst on vacation.


The provision relating to passenger carrying vehicles in the Road Traffic Act must be studied if employees are to be conveyed by company transport. These requirements, even if not strictly applicable, should still form the basis of the standards to be applied. There are also certain insurance provisions which must be adhered to.

Extra Heavy Load vehicles must be custom designed for the load being transported.