It’s extremely dangerous to drive when your fatigued or over-tired. In fact, fatigue is considered to claim more lives on the road than alcohol.
Fatigue reduces reaction time and concentration results in many thousands of road accidents each year.
Research shows that driver tiredness may be a factor in up to 20% of road accidents and up to one quarter of fatal and serious accidents.
The facts about fatigue and driving
- Most sleep-related accidents are on motorways and trunk roads.
- Most sleep-related accidents happen when the body’s natural clock is at its low points: between 2am and 6am and mid afternoon between 2pm and 4pm.
- Road accidents relating to sleep are more likely to result in death and serious injury as the accidents occur when the driver, having fallen asleep, fails to brake.
- Falling asleep at the wheel is preceded by feelings of extreme sleepiness, which drivers are aware of, but often ignore.
- Young male drivers, truck drivers, company car drivers and shift workers are most at risk of falling asleep while driving. However any driver travelling long distances or driving when tired is at risk.
What to do if you feel fatigued
If for any reason you feel sleepy or suffer any other symptoms while driving, your safety and that of your passengers and other road users should never be put at risk.
How to reduce fatigue
The Loughborough Sleep Research Centre has found that:
- One can of functional energy drink (in this research Red Bull was used) is effective in reducing moderate levels of sleepiness (e.g. the afternoon dip).
- Two cans will almost eliminate this level of sleepiness and sleep related driving impairments for about 90 minutes after the drink takes effect.
- Nevertheless, drivers should get adequate sleep and not see functional energy drinks as a substitute for sleep.
- The problem can affect all ages, therefore we all need to take care.