A sleep for the road

Driver fatigue a worrying trend


Drivers are being urged not to drive for longer than two hours without taking a break.

A new study reveals a worrying trend in tired driving.


The survey from IAM RoadSmart, found that one-in-10 drivers admit to momentarily closing their eyes because they were so tired. Drivers also admit to hitting the rumble strip  due to fatigue (10%). Meanwhile, two-in-five (40%) admit to having to turn down the heating or rolled down the windows to help wake themselves up.

“Fatigue behind the wheel is a very serious problem, perhaps more concerning than previously thought of,” says Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research. “The potential carnage that could result from even one accident doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Sleep ahead

More than half of drivers said they were very concerned about fatigue when driving long distances. Encouragingly, around a quarter of drivers had pulled over for a rest or a coffee as the road safety experts advise.

Greig explains that journeys need to be planned. Ensure you route in rest places. Allow time for breaks and refreshments when planning start and end times. Most importantly, get a good night’s sleep. These are not just simple steps to take, but essential for road safety.

“Never drive for longer than two hours without a break and take particular care if driving when you would normally be asleep. This is even more important as the country reopens after the pandemic and not all facilities may be available yet.

“Drivers can then concentrate on staying alert behind the wheel rather than staving off tiredness by trying to reach their end destination without adequate rest breaks.”

Unconscious danger

Tired drivers have slower reaction times and suffer from reduced attention, awareness, and ability to control their vehicles. Research suggests driving tired can be as dangerous as drink-driving.

According to Brake, 10-20% of crashes are estimated to be caused by driver fatigue.  They also found that 1 in 8 drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel. Perhaps surprisingly, more people struggle at 6am rather than 10pm.


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