Driving for long periods of time without rest is well-known to be highly dangerous, and the risks are even higher when this is done frequently.

A new study from Central Queensland University has found that motorists making trips between mines and central Queensland cities face a high risk of drifting into oncoming traffic. In fact, the report explained that the risk could be five times as high.

Professor Lee Di Milia, a professor who authored the paper, stated that the combination of being tired and driving for long distances were the two biggest contributing factors in drivers coming off the road.

Central Queensland especially was noted as a high-risk region, particularly given the state of the road network.

“In central Queensland we’re talking about single lanes and very narrow roads,” Professor Lee Di Milia explained.

These road conditions aren’t confined to central Queensland, however, and similar long stretches can be found throughout the country – even on standard motorways. High temperatures, nights without seeing other drivers and expansive stretches of road all contribute to road drift.

According to the study, the average drive-in drive-out worker in a mining job faces a high chance of drifting off behind the wheel. Contributing factors are a number of days without sleep and driving up to 210 kilometres per commute.

Businesses with drivers will need to take heed of the warning, so as to minimise the risk of accidents. It’s not just mining either, as drivers can often have to make long trips to between states. In these instances, motorists should be told to take appropriate rest stops.

The companies themselves can take additional precautions against any damages by putting insurance policies in place. These can ensure that any crashes or damage to vehicles are covered under a comprehensive policy.