Driving and resting times on a trip

Whether it is for a vacation trip or not, it is necessary to know how many hours in a row you can drive as a maximum to avoid unnecessary risks and not overload the body with the physical effort of spending many hours behind the wheel.

We are often unaware of the importance of driving and resting time. Car trips, whether they are short (4 hours) or long, generate physical wear and tear. According to the DGT, long periods behind the wheel can cause pain in muscles and joints, loss of concentration and reflexes. If we decide not to stop “just to arrive earlier” we are taking an unnecessary risk. So don’t forget to follow these tips for road travel.

Resting time on long or overnight trips

First of all, it is recommended to stop for a long time and do exercises to stretch your legs, relax your muscles or just take a walk, depending on the conditions. In addition, it is recommended that such stops be made every two or two and a half hours, at the most, since the body loses faculties due to tiredness and driving and fatigue may appear.

According to a study by the University of Lisbon, there is a 23% loss of performance in people who drive for 4 hours at a time and up to 59% if they drive for 8 hours. In addition, if you have to drive at night, stops should be made more frequently, as the body is subjected to an extra effort due to the change in the habit of sleeping at that time and the lighting conditions require greater concentration.

Under normal conditions, it takes a driver one second to react to an unexpected event; when fatigued, it can take twice as long. This means that if you are driving at a speed of 120 km/h you will travel a distance of 66 meters before stepping on the brakes or turning the steering wheel.

How does driving for many hours at a time affect us?

  • Lack of attention
  • Reduced reaction capacity
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Tired eyesight
  • Muscle tension

How often should professional drivers stop?

According to Article 7 of regulation 561/2006 for professional drivers: “After a driving period of four and a half hours, the driver shall take an uninterrupted break of at least 45 minutes”. The driver who does not respect the rule on driving and rest times will be sanctioned according to the importance of the infraction.

Remember, before starting your trip, plan the distances you are going to travel and the breaks until you reach your destination. You have no excuse, especially if it is a pleasure trip, take it easy, disconnect, drive without haste and insure your trip at all times.

Leave a Comment