Muscat: Motorists must be careful while driving long distances as fatigue could set in that could lead to traffic accidents, Royal Oman Police have said.
With most travellers driving towards Salalah for the Khareef season, safety experts have been highlighting the need for taking breaks. According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) 150,000 people have already visited Salalah as of July 21.
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has advised people to pull over to the side of the road and park in a safe place on long trips for a break if they are feeling fatigued.
“Resting during long trips from time to time will benefit the mind and body to stay awake and alert as it will also benefit the passengers on board as well as the vehicle. Pushing yourself to drive long hours, especially in the heat, could result in an accident,” said the tweeted guideline advisory from the ROP.
The late Sheikh Khalfan Al Esry once said in a speech, “Your eyes can be open but your brain is sleeping, and no matter how much you rinse your face with water or drink hot coffee, your brain wants to sleep, and that will affect your concentration.”
“It is better for you to have a nap, sleep for some time and be refreshed for the journey,” he said.
In 2014, fatigue was the reason behind ten accidents resulting in seven deaths and nine injuries.
During long trips drivers must also watch out for animals such as camels straying into the vehicle’s path. It is fairly common to spot a flock of goats or camels along the way during long drives and the ROP advises drivers to slow down as animals are unpredictable and can interfere with the driver’s path.
There has been a 1.7 per cent increase in road accidents across the Sultanate compared to the same period last year, according to the monthly bulletin of the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) for July.
The report says that 2,958 accidents were recorded till June, compared to 2,909 for the same period in 2014. Fatalities decreased 24 per cent compared to last year, with 307 people losing their lives in the first half of 2015, compared to 404 last year.
According to optalert.com there are two main reasons for fatigue. The first is lack of quality or quantity of sleep, and driving during a time of day when you should be normally asleep.
Symptoms for detecting fatigue range from narrowing vision, poor judgment and inability to keep your eyes open, to drifting off lane, and daydreaming, apart from yawning constantly and rubbing the eyes.