Driver Safety | Eastern Driving School

Driving Fatigue.

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Fatigue results in thousands of crashes every year.

What do we mean by “fatigue” You are fatigured when you become tired and can’t concentrate on your driving. You may even have a micro-sleep* or fall asleep at the wheel.

Micro- sleeps {nodding off} typically lasts between 2 and 20 seconds – but if you are travelling at 100 /h, in one second the car will have gone 28 m without you being in control.

How do we know?

Unlike alcohol-related crashes, there are no simple tests to determine if fatigue was a cause in a crash.

Investigators suspect fatigue as a cause when;

> The crash occurs late at night, early in the morning or late in the afternoon,

> A single car has run off the roadway.

> Nothing indicates the driver tried to avoid the crash {e.g. no skidmarks}

There are many warning signs for fatigue. A combination of any of the following signals that the driver is becoming fatigured and needs to take a break:

> yawning

> eyes feeling sore or heavy

> vision starting to blur

> start seeing things

> daydreaming and not concentrating

> becoming impatient

> feeling hungry or thirsty

> reactions seem slow

> feeling stiff or cramped

> driving speed creeps up or down

> starting to make poor gear changes

> wandering over the centre line or onto the road edge

What has research told us about fatigue?

Everybody needs sleep and we all have our own patterns of sleepiness and wakefulness. Fatigue {sometimes referred to as drowsiness or sleepiness} causes crashes because it slows down the driver’s reaction times and affects their scanning abilities and information processing skills.

> Although the need for sleep varies among individuals, sleeping eight hour in 24-hour period is common.

> The effect of sleep loss builds up. Regularly losing 1 to 2 hours sleep a night can create a “sleep debt” and lead to chronic sleepiness over time – and cause involuntary micro-sleeps.

> Just being in bed doesn’t mean a person has had enough sleep. Disrupted sleep has the same effect as lack of sleep. Illness, noise, activity, lights, etc, can interrupt and reduce the amount and quality of sleep.

Fatigue can strike any driver, but you are at greater risk as a young person if you:

> Combine heavy study or work with leisure and late night socialising.

> Change your sleep patterns and reduce night time sleep.

> Drink alcohol and or use other drugs.

Here are some ideas to minimise fatigue when you are driving:

> Plan to get sufficient and regular sleep. Most people need around 7-8 hours in every 24-hour period. Making do with less sleep will affect your driving.

> If you are sleepy or tired, don’t drink even small amounts of alcohol. Alcohol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system and can make you even more tired or less alert.

> Try not to drive during your normal sleeping hours. Your body works in a rhythm or pattern and when you upset this rhythm it can badly affect you.

> If possible take a taxi or a lift with another person rather than driving during your normal sleep times. {you can always pick your car up in the morning if you have to .

> Think about what activity you were doing before the drive. If it was physically or mentally demanding then fatigue may “kick in” within a few minutes of beginning the trip.

> Know the signs that indicate you are tired.

> If you are fatigued , you must stop driving. Let a passenger drive or take a short “power nap” before continuing with the trip.

> Fatigue can set in even on short local trips. If there is no alternative to travelling a short distance when you are tired then make sure you make your journey as uncomfortable as possible – too cold, noisy or windy for example. If this works it won’t work for long and if it doesn’t work you are putting yourself at great risk and you should stop.

 

Source: Road to Solo Driving

What is the two second rule ?

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The two second rule is about the following distance behind the vehicle in front.

The following distance is the space or gap between you and the vehicle in front.

You must keep your vehicle a safe distance from any vehicle in front of you. A safe distance should be enough to allow time to slow down and avoid trouble.

You should be at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front. You can check this by a simple test:

>> Focus on a marker in the distance such as a signpost or tree and note when the vehicle in front passes the marker, then count the number of seconds before your vehicle passes the same marker. Ask your supervising driver to also do this and compare your results.

If your count is not at least two seconds then you are to close.

At least two seconds of time and the distance this represents under ideal driving conditions are necessary to give you time to react to any changes which may happen.

Often, you may need more than two seconds,

This includes:

>> when visibility is poor

>> if conditions are dark

>> if conditions are wet or slippery

>> when you have a heavy load

>> when the road is unmade

You need to develop your judgement skills about what distance at different speeds represents two seconds. This skill will only come with lots of supervised driving experience.

But remember , under any conditions that are less than ideal, a longer gap is recommrnded.

Souce:  The Road to Solo Driving

Driving for the conditions 2

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Why is it often safer to lower your speed limit to below the posted speed ?

Busy roads are full of unexpected problems. A child may see its parents on the opposite side of the road and dart across without looking. You may be in control of your vehicle but you can’t control what other road users may do.

If you reduce your speed, you have more time to react to an unexpected situation.

When roads are wet and slippery it takes much longer for your vehicle to come to a stop after applying the brakes. When it rains after a long period of dry weather it is even more important to go slower, as the rain mixes with oil and dust on the road, making it even more slippery than usual.

Bright sunlight can blind you just for a moment when a hazard appears in the distance. If you are travelling at a slower speed you have time to react safely.

If you are travelling in an unfamiliar area, you will not be aware of the dangers that are around. By slowing down, even by 5 km/h, you give yourself an opportunity to see any hazards and more time to react.

Remember, the slower you go, the more time you have to react to unexpected situations.

Source:  ATSB  Key Facts For New Drivers

Driving For The Conditions 1

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Imagine you are in a 60 Km/h zone

In which of the following situations would you slow down ?

When travelling near or through a shopping centre

When near a school zone just before school begins or after school ends

When there is more traffic than usual

When it is raining heavily

When it is raining lightly

When the sun blinds you for a moment

When there are road works

When the area you are driving in is unfamiliar to you

The answer is in every one of the situations listed above

Speed limit signs indicate Maximum speeds allowable

In every State and Territory of Australia you must adjust your travelling speed below the posted limit if the driving conditions mean that the maximum speed is unsafe.

It is not enough to be within the law: you need to be in control and able to cope with the unexpected.

Being legally in the right is not much comfort once:

* your car is off the road damaged, or

* you or someone else is injured or dead.

Source   Key Facts For New Drivers

THE NEW PRACTICAL DRIVE TEST

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·       The new drive test is being introduced as part of the new Graduated Licensing System (GLS) to:

oBetter assess the ability of licence applicants to handle the demands of solo driving as P1 driver; and

o     Motivate learners to better prepare for their Ps by getting 120 hours driving experience in a wide variety of driving conditions.

·       The new test:

o     Is longer than the current test;

o     Provides a better picture of a licence applicant’s driving ability;

o     Incorporates a more thorough assessment system;

o     Has Immediate termination errors;

o     Introduces scoring of critical errors;

o     Is made up of two parts which separate less challenging and more challenging driving tasks;

o     Involved extensive trialing with learners with varying levels of experience; and

o     Is unique to Victoria and is evidence-based.

·       Applicants still need to pass the Hazard Perception Test before taking the drive test.

 

 

WHY WAS A NEW DRIVE TEST REQUIRED?

·       The new drive test is an important part of GLS and is needed to help support the 120 hour requirement for learner drivers. 120 hours has been shown to significantly reduce crashes.

·       Key objectives of the new drive test are to:

·                       Help discriminate between learners with and without 120 hours;

·                       Motivate learners to get at least 120 hours in a variety of conditions;

·                       Replace the current test (POLA) which was developed at a time when most learners had low levels of supervised experience;

·                       Complement the current HPT;

·                       Introduce a new test which sets the bar higher and is designed to assess more experienced learners; and

·                       Better assess the ability of licence applicants to handle the demands of solo driving as a P1 driver.

 

 

HOW WAS THE NEW TEST DEVELOPED?

·       Developed over 18 months from the results of trials with 1300 learners with a range of driving experience;

·       Developed by VicRoads with assistance from road safety and test development experts;

·       Not based on opinions but based on evidence; and

·       Process was scientific and used:

o     best research from Australia and overseas

o     causes of crashes for newly licenced drivers

o     extensive trials with learners

o     input by testers and driving instructors

o     occupational health and safety as a key consideration in the design of the test.

 

TEST OVERVIEW

·       30 minute on-road test (previously 15-20 minutes).

·       Has two parts:

o     Part 1 – takes 10 minutes and has 7 driving tasks in less challenging driving conditions.  Applicants must pass Part 1 before they are permitted to attempt Part 2.

o     Part 2 – takes 20 minutes and consists of 14 to 21 day-to-day driving tasks in a range of realistic traffic conditions.

o     Applicants must pass both parts of the test to obtain their probationary licence.

 

 

 

 

 

SCORING

·       The outcome of the drive test does not depend on a single test score – it depends on the number of Immediate Termination Errors, Critical Errors and performance on the specific driving tasks.

·       The test scoring involves:

o     Immediate Termination Errors – where the applicant does something to create an unsafe situation.  This results in the applicant immediately failing the drive test and the test being terminated.

o     Critical Errors – where the applicant makes a serious driving error which does not create any immediate danger. Repetition of this behaviour(s) will fail the applicant and terminate the test. 

§         Only 2 critical errors are allowed over the course of the test, if a 3rd occurs the applicant immediately fails and the test is terminated. 

§         During Part 1 of the test (less challenging driving conditions), only 1 critical error is allowed, if a 2nd error occurs during this part of the test the applicant immediately fails and the test is terminated.

o     In addition, to the Immediate Termination Errors and Critical Errors, points are also awarded for correctly and safely demonstrating key driving skills when completing specific driving tasks.

 

PASSING THE NEW TEST

·       The practical drive test checks that licence applicants can:

o     Drive safely;

o     Control a vehicle smoothly;

o     Obey the road rules; and

o     Co-operate with other road users.

·       Learners are more likely to pass the practical drive test if they:

o     Have had more than 120 hours of supervised driving experience;

o     Have had supervised driving experience in a broad range of different conditions – such as at night, in wet weather, and on different types of roads; and

o     Can drive safely and legally in different driving situations – such as normal and busy traffic, at intersections and on multilane roads.

 

LOG BOOK CHECKING

·         Log Books will be checked by a VicRoads Licence Testing Officer (LTO) at the start of the drive test appointment before the applicant is taken out in the vehicle.

·         All licence applicants who obtained their learner permit on or after 1 July 2007 and are under 21 at the time they sit for their probationary licence test must present a completed Log Book  i.e. 120 hours (including 10 hours at night).

·         Learners who are aged 21 or older or obtained their permit before 1 July 2007 – do not have to present a Log Book.

·         Log Book entries must be completed in pen.  Blue and black is preferable (as requested in the Log Book), however any pen colour will be accepted if the entry is legible (i.e. the VicRoads LTO can understand the log entry).

 

LOG BOOK SCENARIOS

·       Pass Log Book Check / Pass Drive Test

o     If an applicant meets all the requirements of the Log Book check and passes the Drive Test (and other requirements associated with the appointment), they will be issued with a P1 probationary licence.

·       Pass Log Book Check / Fail Drive Test

o     If an applicant meets all the requirements of the Log Book check and fails the Drive Test, the log book results will be recorded.

o     The applicant is not required to re-present their Log Book, when re-sitting for their Drive Test.

·       Fail Log Book Check

o     If an applicant fails to meet all the requirements of the Log Book check then they are unable to undertake Drive Test.

o     The applicant forfeits their Drive Test appointment, all test fees and must wait at least 6 weeks before they can attempt another test.

o     The applicant must re-present their completed Log Book, when presenting for their next test.

Source: VIC ROADS, Driving Instructor Industry Update, 06-2008

Key Dates To Protect Young Drivers

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KEY DATES
2007
1 January ALCOHOL INTERLOCKS INTRODUCED FOR YOUNG FIRST TIME OFFENDERS From 1 January 2007, a probationary driver or any driver under 26, caught for a drink driving offence involving a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .07 or higher, will have an alcohol interlock fitted to their car when they return to driving. If the interlock detects any alcohol on a driver’s breath, the car won’t start.

1 July  NEW LEARNER PERMIT RULES INTRODUCED From 1 July 2007, a learner driver (under 21) must stay on their learner permit for at least 12 months before they can apply for their probationary licence. They also have to carry their permit whenever they drive.

1 July  120 HOURS OF SUPERVISED DRIVING From 1 July 2007, a learner driver (under 21) must have logged at least 120 hours of supervised driving, including a minimum of 10 hours night driving, before they can apply for a P1 probationary licence.

1 July
NEW RESTRICTIONS ON DRIVING HIGH POWERED VEHICLESFrom 1 July 2007, new restrictions make it easier for probationary drivers to identify the car they can legally drive.

2008
1 July  NEW ON ROAD DRIVING TEST
1 July  A NEW TWO STAGE PROBATIONARY LICENCE WILL BEGINThe current single probationary licence will be replaced by a one year P1 probationary licence (red plate), followed by a three year P2 probationary licence (green plate).

1 July  PASSENGER RESTRICTION FOR P1 DRIVERFrom 1 July 2008, a P1 driver can only carry one passenger aged between 16 and 21.