Motortrades Insight Magazine Online

Tiredness is deadly but half of all drivers are forced to drive to work early despite a lack of sleep

Ref:A0520
Published: 25 July 2013

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Drivers are being advised to take simple steps to avoid falling asleep at the wheel as the holiday season starts and many families prepare for long distance travel to destinations across the UK and Europe.


It comes after Motortrades Insight revealed how Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s Head of Road Safety, warned that employers need to act responsibly in setting appropriate timetables for their employees and not forcing employees to start work too early. 


Road safety charity Brake today revealed more than half of drivers – 55 per cent – are ignoring basic advice to take rest breaks at least every two hours on long journeys, while one in ten – nine per cent – don''t stop at all on long journeys unless they absolutely have to. Many also admit failing to get enough sleep the night before a long journey, as less than half – 45 per cent – make sure they get at least seven hours of sleep.


Brake are warning families gearing up for long holiday journeys that too little sleep and too few breaks radically affects your ability to drive safely. “After five hours of sleep you only have a one in ten chance of staying fully awake on a lengthy journey,” explained Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake.


“A large proportion of the driving public are scarily confident they can push on through on long drives without stopping. In reality, regular breaks - at least every two hours - are essential for staying alert and awake, as is getting plenty of sleep the night before.”


Of the 1,000 British drivers surveyed, males are far more likely to drive for longer periods without stopping. A staggering 14 per cent said they had driven for six hours or more without a break, while that figure for women stood at just three per cent. 


A gigantic 50 per cent of men have driven for four hours or more without stopping, while a whopping 31 per cent of women have done the same. 


A third of drivers admit to sometimes – or always – trying to push on if they feel sleepy at the wheel, one of the most dangerous things to do and a significant cause of fatal accidents. While 38 per cent of men said they do this, a third of all female drivers are culprits too.


She added: “Sleepiness can catch you unawares at the wheel and it only takes a couple of seconds on a motorway to cause absolute carnage. The summer means long journeys for many families hoping to catch some sun at the coast or abroad. Brake is warning that to make sure you and your loved ones get there safely you need to allow plenty of time to take it easy, take regular rest breaks, and ensure you get a full night's sleep beforehand.”

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