Monotonous motorway type driving is responsible for one in five car crashes. Falling asleep at the wheel is accountable for around 300 deaths a year. Statistically this happens because the driver crashes at a high speed, because being asleep, they don’t apply any brakes. As such the seriousness of the injury is greater and sometimes fatal.
Having the right amount of sleep is crucial. The ability to drive safely after 5 hours of sleep means you will have a one in ten chance of remaining fully awake for a long journey.
If caught by the police you could be charged with either careless driving or dangerous driving. If you are the cause of a fatality, the term could be 14 years in prison.
Some of the major causes of tired driving include:
Lack of sleep
People on medication
Greater comfort and quieter cars
Awareness and Self Help
Try to plan ahead for taking long journeys, give yourself plenty of time. You should ideally take a 15 minute break for every 2 hours of driving. Be aware of the tell-tale signs – your concentration starts to lapse, your eyelids are starting to feel heavy, the muscles on the back of your neck start to relax, this makes the head start to droop.
Wind down your window, turn the radio up. Take 15 minute powernaps, stopping for a cup of coffee helps but is not that long lasting.
Who is the most susceptible?
The company car driver aged under 30, for example, sales representatives
The company car driver aged between 30 and 44, a sales executive for example
For more information and help visit:
Department for Transport - http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/
Road Safety UK - http://www.roadsafetyuk.co.uk/drvfatig.htm
Driving as part of your Job
Estimates tell us; up to 1000 lives a year are lost, by people who drive as part of their job. This equates to a third of all road accidents involve someone who was working at the time.