WHEN was the last time you drove tired? I did, last week.
Luisa and I had taken our girls to see Taylor Swift in Sydney. I’d worked the breakfast radio shift that morning and had been up since 2.45am.
I took an early mark from work before 10am and toddled home to get an hour’s sleep, knowing that I’d need it in the next 24 hours.
We left for Sydney at 1pm and parked at a friend’s house at Canterbury before taking the train to Central Station and then a bus to Moore Park.
The concert was spectacular. There were 40,000 fans at Allianz Stadium and it took until midnight to get back to the car.
I felt good when we left. Before we got to the freeway most of my passengers were asleep. I got “the tireds” just before Pheasant’s Nest. I felt my concentration begin to slide, with the sound of those cats’ eyes in the middle of the road drumming as I started to drift over the edge of my lane. Clearly, my focus was beginning to waver.
I pulled over and went for a good two or three-minute walk. I stretched arms and legs, and had a drink before getting back in the car.
At Sutton Forest, I got a Coke and some fries. Sugar always lifts you a bit.
I stopped again just before Goulburn and then, one final time, down by Lake George.
During it all, I kept on asking myself whether my reaction times would stand up to an unexpected event, such as a rogue kangaroo or an out-of-control car. If at any point I’d believed that the answer was “No”, I would have pulled over and grabbed a 15-minute snooze.
In the end, I got us home relatively comfortably.
If you’re off on a long trek over the Christmas period, be sensible in managing fatigue. Every road death is a tragedy, but there is nothing more meaningless than those who lose their lives because they became unconscious at the wheel. It can happen to you.
Mark Parton is 2CC’s breakfast announcer