It’s no secret that getting behind the wheel when you’re tired is a very dangerous move. But are you aware of the exact risk you put yourself and others at?
Let’s not mess about, here’s some facts:
- 25% of crashes on British main roads are tiredness-related
- 49% of UK drivers admitted to driving when tired (Having less than 5 hours sleep)
- 21% of fatal crashes are believed to have involved a drowsy driver
- 31% of drivers admitted to experiencing a ‘mircosleep’ behind the wheel
Shocking stuff, isn’t it? But why do so many drivers take these risks? As drivers, it’s easy to think that we can beat tiredness, but it’s an impossible task; nobody is immune to sleeping.
What Can Attribute to Being Tired on the Road Then?
- Quality of sleep is the most obvious, whether:
- You’ve had a poor night’s sleep.
- You’ve been awake for a long time.
- You’ve built up a sleep debt over a period of time.
- Lifestyle plays a huge part; those who drive long distances (such as HGV and coach drivers) and those working unsociable shifts are most at risk.
- Evening commuters are at risk; pulling a late night after a long day in front of a computer screen can fatigue your eyes, especially when combined with a stressful working environment.
- Certain medications can create drowsiness; something that can easily be overlooked.
These factors become even more dangerous as our vehicles improve and become more efficient; they are much quieter and smoother, creating a very relaxing environment for the driver.
How Do You Know When You’re Too Tired?
There are many symptoms; any of the following should be a clear warning:
- Heavy eyelids
- Neck muscles becoming more relaxed
- Eyes starting to roll
- Head starts to get heavy and slumps
- Mircosleeping or not remembering the last few minutes
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to take action before it’s too late.
What Should You Do?
- First and foremost, make sure you’re well rested before your trip. Get a good night’s sleep prior to driving. Alternatively, if you’re driving late at night, consider taking a quick power nap before you drive. If you’re already feeling tired, look at rescheduling your drive or setting off the next day.
- When planning your journey, don’t forget to incorporate breaks into it; Moto’s route planner tool is a really quick way to plan a safe route. It’s recommended that for every two hours spent driving, you should take at least a 15-minute break. If you’re tired, you may need to rest sooner than that though.
- Make sure you don’t pull over on the hard shoulder; find somewhere safe or wait for your nearest Moto service station. There’s a range of amenities at Moto and you can stay at all of our motorway stops for 2 hours free of charge. This allows you to relax and recharge your batteries.
- It also gives you a chance to grab a coffee or an energy drink from one of our many restaurants. Make sure you wait till the caffeine kicks in before setting off again; research from the University of Barcelona shows that it takes 10 minutes until caffeine kicks in. Keep in mind that is only a short term fix.
What are the Consequences of Falling Asleep While Driving?
- Quite simply, you are you’re putting your life at risk and potentially others.
- You can be charged with careless or dangerous driving. If you are involved in a fatal accident, you could be charged with death by dangerous driving, which carries a maximum penalty of fourteen years in prison. The implications of these on both your personal and work life are obvious.
- If you have medical condition that causes daytime sleepiness, you are required to inform the DVLA. Failure to do so means you’re liable for a £1,000 fine.
- Other factors such as the increased insurance premiums, costs of repairing/replacing your vehicle and loss of driving confidence are just some of the potential
There are far too many crashes each year that could be avoided. Don’t take the chance; tiredness can kill. For more information, visit the Government’s THINK website.