Tired drivers greatly increase the risk of a collision and reaction times are increased and these two states can factor in as many as 20% of all crashes and one in four deaths and serious collisions.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth commented from London: “A fatigue-related crash is around 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury because a driver has fallen asleep.
”The consequences can be devastating.”
Worth added: ”It’s vital to heed the many warning signs your body will give you before you actually nod off. Nobody simply falls asleep without passing through recognisable stages of tiredness.
“You will experience difficulty focusing on the driving task, you may fidget, yawn constantly and rub your eyes frequently. As fatigue increases concentration wanders and the car will drift sideways.
”Suddenly cannot recall anything that happened in the previous few moments.
“At this stage your driving performance is seriously impaired; it’s vital to stop, take a nap, have a caffeine-based… each useful but not a substitute for proper rest. Stop, and take a proper rest.”
Here are five tips to reduce the chances of not getting to your destination:
- Get a good night’s sleep before a long drive.
- Don’t press on into the night. Avoid driving when you would usually sleep.
- Avoid a heavy meal during the drive, especially at lunchtime – your body will want to kip.
- Take a break, get out of the car, walk around for 15 minute every couple of hundred kilometres – take a flask of hot coffee for a caffeine boost.
- You’ll know when fatigue is affecting you. It doesn’t just take you by surprise – resist the urge to press on – take a proper break.