Lagging Behind – The Emerging Influence of Jet Lag Symptoms on Road Safety

Document Type : Review Article


1 School of Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland

2 School of Medicine, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia



Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in international travelers. With the growth of international travel, the number of visitors who rent a vehicle upon arrival at their destination by air or by sea is expected to increase. Jet lag is a well-recognized maladaptation to international travel across multiple time zones. Little is known about the possible influence of jet lag symptoms on the risk of road traffic collisions. Lack of awareness or failure to recognize the debilitating effects of jet lag and driving immediately after a long-haul flight put the driver at risk of a fatal road traffic accident. This article summarizes the available evidence and suggests reasonable approaches which may serve to minimize the risk of jet lag-induced driver fatigue leading to road injuries and deaths. The future research agenda should focus on routinely recording whether jet lag was a co-factor in road traffic accidents, analyzing the effectiveness of public awareness campaigns to highlight this neglected issue, and investigating the impact of jet lag on pedestrian road safety.


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