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Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
October 26, 2009

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Driving at work- Long-distance drivers warned about caffeine overload

According to the NSC, excessive caffeine consumption can cause similar symptoms to alcohol intoxication.Research has shown that just an hour after drinking a high-in-caffeine or highly-sugared drink, tired drivers can experience serious lapses in concentration and slower reaction times as the drink’s effects wear off. The American Food and Drink Administration has attributed symptoms such as irritability, nervousness, irregular or rapid heartbeat, muscle twitching, and rambling speech to what it terms “caffeine intoxication”.The American focus on high-energy drinks has now been adopted in the UK by the Institute of Advanced Motorists. The group’s director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: “Energy drinks are good as a quick fix, but they’re no substitute for regular breaks. Having a high-caffeine drink is a one-off hit – you can’t repeat it, as this type of drink does not produce the same effect in a couple of hours’ time.”In order to beat fatigue on long drives, the IAM advises the following:

  • Consider stopping overnight on long-haul journeys;
  • Share the driving with someone else;
  • Stop every two hours;
  • If you start to feel tired while driving, don’t rely on air con, or an open window – instead, find a safe place to stop;
  • Only get back behind the wheel when you are properly refreshed.


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