Prolonged night driving unsafe

June 11th, 2008 - 12:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 11 (IANS) Prolonged driving at night impairs performance at the steering wheel and should be discouraged, according to a new study. The study focussed on 14 healthy youths who drove in three nocturnal sessions (3-5 a.m., 1-5 a.m. and 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) on an open highway.

Researchers monitored inappropriate line crossings in the last hour of driving of each session, sleep variables, self-perceived fatigue and sleepiness.

As compared to the 3-5 a.m. driving session, the ratio of inappropriate line crossings increased by 2.6 in the 1-5 a.m. session and by a factor of four in the 9 p.m.-5 a.m. driving session.

Self-related fatigue and sleepiness scores were both correlated to driving impairment in the 1-5 a.m. and 9 p.m.-5 a.m. driving sessions and increased significantly during the nocturnal driving sessions compared to the reference session.

“Until now, regulations have taken into account maximal duration of driving, but the cumulative effects of sleepiness and fatigue were never studied or integrated in the driving regulation,” said Pierre Philip of Universit

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