With summer holidays and long drives looming, we’re bound to be given advice about driving safely on WA’s highways.
The worst thing about that is that it’s all stuff we already know. Don’t drive tired. Take breaks. Swap drivers.
So the annual trotting-out of warnings runs the risk of being filed too quickly in the ho-hum basket.
And then, in steps Toyota Australia with a fresh and clever idea.
Toyota has partnered with leading Australian sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo to provide tips and advice on how to take the optimum break when travelling long distances.
Olivia has recorded a free 10-minute guided meditation series, so that drivers can stop just briefly but benefit from a really good break.
It is called “Toyota Australia Take A Break with Olivia Arezzolo”.
I’m sure some readers will have immediately flicked their “Hocus Pocus Switch” … and I did, too. Then, in the middle of a busy day, I clicked on the link that Toyota’s public relations specialist had sent me, which took me to Spotify, and I started listening. Even though Olivia’s voice is immediately engaging, I actually missed the end of the 10-minute, 12-second podcast … because I had nodded off. Truly. It really took me by surprise.
Olivia Arezzolo’s top tips
According to Road Safety Education, tiredness is one of the major causes of road accidents, making driving when fatigued just as dangerous as speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol.
Here are Olivia’s top tips to beat driver fatigue and make the most of breaks on the road:
“Make sure you get enough sleep the night before you leave. It’s especially important, given that 20 per cent of all road accidents involve fatigue, according to the Transport Accident Commission (Victoria), and that 20-30 per cent of all deaths/severe road injuries are caused by sleepiness.”
Save your energy
“Do not leave after a big day of work. Even if it feels like you’ll be OK with a coffee or energy drink, scientifically, after 17 hours of being awake, you have the driving capacity of someone with a BAC of 0.05 — technically drunk. After 21 hours, your driving capacity matches someone with a BAC of 0.15 — three times the legal limit.”
Take a break
“Take breaks every two hours — nap, get sunlight, take a walk. It will help you arrive alive. To make the most of your break, it’s helpful to know what will keep you energised. This includes sun exposure, to ensure your melatonin (the sleepy hormone) is suppressed, and plenty of movement — a study found 15 minutes of stair climbing boosted energy more than a shot of espresso.”
Napping “Still really need that brief sleep? I have a three-step nap plan to allow you to feel fresh and revived without sabotaging your sleep later in the night:
1 Keep it short — less than 30 minutes.
2 Keep it dark — wear an eye mask.
3 Keep it early — before 3.30pm.
Don’t worry if you can’t follow all three of the steps — as long as you’re doing at least two, you’ll be good to go!”