DRIVERS should not push themselves too far to visit family and friends under current COVID-19 restrictions, Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has warned.

Mr O’Brien said he understood the desire to visit loved ones as soon as possible, but with overnight stay restrictions in place, it still might not be practical.

“Restrictions are beginning to ease which is great, but the consistent message remains the same – if you can stay home, you should stay home,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I’m concerned that people might be tempted to turn what would normally be an overnight trip into a day trip, unnecessarily placing lives at risk.

“Many of us in the country are used to having to travel long distances, but there’s no need to overdo it unnecessarily.”

According to the Transport Accident Commission, if a driver falls asleep for as little as four seconds while travelling at 100km/h, the car will travel 111 metres without a driver in control.

Mr O’Brien said research showed around 20 per cent of fatal road accidents involve driver fatigue.

“I’m urging Gippslanders to avoid long trips if they are not absolutely necessary.

“For those who are planning long car trips there are a number of tips provided on the VicRoads website which could save your life, including:

  • Powernap if tired. Research shows that even a small sleep or powernap of 10 minutes can significantly reduce your chances of a crash caused by fatigue.
  • Cool the car interior.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Take regular rest breaks to help reduce the effects of fatigue; and
  • Eat proper and well-balanced meals, preferably at your normal meal times.

“Most importantly, remember that once you are fatigued, the only cure is sleep,” Mr O’Brien said.