Changes in sleeping habits and fasting during Ramadan may impact on a driver’s ability to concentrate and remain alert on the roads. It is important to address the issues drivers may face to stay safe on the roads.
What are the issues?
- Blood sugar levels will be low during the late afternoon and evening as a result of fasting. Along with dehydration, this can cause loss of concentration, dizziness and headaches.
- Prayer times can disrupt sleep patterns causing daytime drowsiness, poor concentration and reduced alertness.
- Research shows that fasting affects spatial awareness as well as reaction times including the speed of braking and the speed of reading road signs. Tiredness has been found to increase impatience with other drivers; yawning and daydreaming can result in drivers missing road signs and junctions.
Actions for Drivers
We recommend that drivers:
- Adopt a robust schedule to maximise night-time sleep.
- Avoid travelling to work at peak commuting times where possible.
- Give consideration to increased use of public transport.
- Keep a safe distance away from the vehicle in front.
- Take regular breaks when driving and take a walk away from your vehicle if possible to improve circulation.
- Focus on driving home responsibly at sunset.
- Guard against dehydration.
Drivers should pay particular attention to their driving performance during Ramadan. Practising defensive driving and keeping to a structured routine to maximise the amount of sleep you obtain can help in reducing the risk of fatigue. Talking openly with your colleagues and managers as a team approach can provide you with additional support during your fasting period.