At our age, and Iím not saying Iím past my prime, I tend to have a couple of periods during the day where I tend to wander all over the road and sometimes off it.  This is fatigue, and for your own safety and that of your passengers, learn to recognise the signs and stop.  For a bloke who 15 years ago thought nothing of driving non stop from Melbourne to Brisbane Iím telling you the older you get the smarter you get and realise it can no longer be done.  Failure to recognise these signs cannot only wreck you holiday but could also ruin your life.

Nearly all of us are in the habit of short sharp journeys around our local neighbourhoods and the city we are NOT used to travelling vast distances that involve many sedentary hours in a vehicle.  The brain simply isn't prepared for the task and becomes fatigued.  Early signs of fatigue are  the inability to remain in the lane, unable to remember the last half an hour and, amongst others my personal favourite,  running over the white posts on the side of the road.  Learn to recognise the symptoms,  stop and have a break.  Australia has by best estimates been here for 60 million years and another day or two is not going to make much of a difference.  

This is not a time for male machismo (stubborn dill - see definitions), learn to recognise the symptoms and act accordingly which is very hard on some.  This is the part I find particularly hard as I am always overconfident in my abilities and it wasn't until the last trip when I damaged a muscle in my neck and ended up in the Townsville Hospital.  They thought I'd had some sort of heart attack and I knew it was just a pulled muscle but medical people are not intimidated by 130 kgs of sook in a theatre gown which didn't even look like meeting in the back or covering sundries when making a point.

Every traveller needs to be aware that in some parts of very long trip into the outback there will be times when a feeling of isolation may overcome some people.  In my opinion there are certain parts of the country that have few if any redeeming features and they usually lead to the good bits.  It seems to take an eternity to cross and it is imperative you are aware of heightened fatigue with nothing to see.  The mind starts to wander and our thoughts turn to things other than driving .  Next thing an excursion onto the gravel shoulder and you can join the dots on the rest.  Ensure everyone involved is aware of the vast distances and how easy it is to sink into a time consuming daze.  I have an awful habit of going faster when my wife is asleep in order to shorten the trip.  Big mistake, we seem to cover ground easier when she is awake and commenting on every subject that takes her fancy especially my ability to drive in the proper manner.

I find long distance travel a very good excuse to partake of my favourite sugar replacements, jelly beans and scorched peanut bars, and over extreme distances you can convince yourself that they are actually good for you.  Water intake is essential over long distances as the air conditioning in modern vehicles is doing exactly that providing cool DRY air to keep the passengers comfortable and in the process sucking the fluids out of the passengers.  Care needs to be taken with fluid intake so as not to overdo it

Breaks every two hours or so in which you replenish your sugar levels, boil a billy, take photos or in fact just revel in the experience of not being able to see what your a breathing.   I will return to this subject throughout this site because fatigue is a killer and lets face it we still have lots to accomplish.  I leave the topic with an unsourced quote: 

"I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather not crying, praying and screaming like his passengers"


If you wish to contact us: email Information@4x4arts.com

© 2003, 4x4 Assessment, Recreational Training Services Pty. Ltd