When someone say the words “dangerous driving”, what springs to mind? It is likely that you think of drink driving, using a mobile behind the wheel and speeding. However, one of the most dangerous habits is driving whilst tried. Due to the fact that motorway drives are long and monotonous, drivers are far more likely to fall asleep than on any other roads. In general, motorways are safer than any other roads in Britain, besides high streets. However, when on motorways, tiredness can be incredibly risky.
Is being tired really that dangerous?
According to official statistics, a fifth of accidents which occur on UK motorways are caused by a driver who is drowsy. When an accident is caused by a driver who is sleepy, there is a 50% higher chance that the accident will result in death.
Accidents involving tired drivers are so dangerous because the driver is generally not aware of what has happened until they wake up. At least when a driver is drunk or texting, they are conscious and therefore able to re-gain control of their vehicle. However, when a driver is asleep, they are unable to deal with the situation.
Falling asleep is not the only hazard associated with driving whilst tired. Tiredness in itself is a danger because your concentration, alertness and reaction times are significantly reduced.
Are certain drivers more at risk of tiredness than others?
When it comes to tiredness, a lot of it depends on how much sleep you have gotten the previous night. However, statistics have shown that there are certain times, situations and professions which are associated with road traffic accidents caused by tired drivers.
According to statistics, driving between the hours of 2am and 6am are common times to fall asleep behind the wheel. At these times, a driver’s body clock would usually expect to be asleep. Pair that with the fact that it is likely to be dark and there are two reasons why sleepiness would occur. Driving between 2pm and 4pm is also associated with sleepiness, particularly if you have eaten a meal and had an alcoholic drink before driving.
Sometimes the drink drive limit can be misleading. It almost implies that driving after a drink is ok. It is important to note that this is a limit, it is not a recommendation. Alcohol is a depressant which means that it slows the reaction times in your brain, something which is never safe when driving.
What is the right thing to do when I become tired on the road?
First and foremost, never embark on a long journey if you’re already tired. Driving will not wake you up, so the best option is to take a rest and drive when you are feeling alert. If you find yourself drowsy whilst you’re on the road, stop at the next available junction or service station. Get out of your vehicle and have a couple of cups of caffeinated coffee. Never assume that opening your windows will keep you awake, it won’t.