Usage and perceived effectiveness of fatigue countermeasures for professional and nonprofessional drivers Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Drivers adopt various strategies in order to cope with fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel. These strategies include a wide range of activities that may invigorate the body and/or the mind. OBJECTIVES: To compare usage patterns and to evaluate the perceived effectiveness of different coping behaviors adopted by professional and nonprofessional drivers in order to maintain alertness. METHOD: The study was conducted using a large-scale survey, filled by 100 professional and 90 nonprofessional drivers. RESULTS: Listening to the radio and opening the window were the most frequently used and also perceived as highly effective coping behaviors by both groups of drivers. Talking on a cellular phone or with a passenger were more frequently used by nonprofessional drivers whereas, planning rest stops ahead, stopping for a short nap and drinking coffee were more frequently used by professional drivers. These methods were also perceived as more effective by professional than by the nonprofessional drivers and their usage frequency highly correlated with their perceived effectiveness. CONCLUSIONS: Nonprofessional drivers counteract fatigue only at the tactical/maneuvering level of the drive. Hence, they tend to adopt methods that help them pass the time and reduce their feeling of boredom but do not require advance preparations or adjustments in the driving. In contrast, professional drivers counteract fatigue also at the strategic/planning level of driving, and use a much larger repertoire of coping-behaviors. IMPLICATIONS: Fatigue countermeasures should include all levels of the driving task hierarchy, and experience-based countermeasures used by professional drivers should be considered for experimental validation. Language: en

publication date

  • May 1, 2011