Recent studies have shown that drivers don’t fall asleep without warning. Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel have often tried to fight off drowsiness by opening a window, turning on the air conditioning or cranking up the volume on the radio. These don’t work for long.
- Research suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related
- Sleep-related accidents are more likely than others to result in a fatality or serious injury
- Peak times for accidents are in the early hours of the morning or after lunch
- About 40% of sleep –related accidents involve commercial vehicles
- Men under the age of 30 have the highest risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
- Plan your journey so that you can include a 15 minute break every two hours
- Don’t begin a long journey if you are already feeling tired
- Remember the risks if you have to begin a long journey unusually early
- Try to avoid long trips between midnight and 6am, when you are likely to feel sleepy
- If you begin to feel tired, find a safe place to stop – not the hard shoulder of a motorway. Drink two cups of coffee or a high caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for the caffeine to kick in.
- Please remember that the only real cure for sleepiness is a proper sleep. A caffeine drink or a nap is a short term fix that will only allow you to keep driving for a short time.
- Prescribed or over-the-counter medication can cause sleepiness as a side effect. Always check the label, if you intend to drive.
If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) you need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Find out which questionnaire you need to complete for the driving licence you hold. Further information can be found here.