1 in 6 drivers admit to nodding off behind the wheel

11th May 2018

1 in 6 drivers admit to nodding off behind the wheel Image: metamorworks via iStock

Safety should be everyone’s number one priority when they get behind the wheel of a car, and it doesn’t take a road safety expert to know that being awake is a pretty important part of being a vigilant, responsible driver.

It’s somewhat concerning, then, that one in six motorists have admitted to falling asleep while driving.

In a survey by vehicle CCTV firm SmartWitness, more than four out of ten people (42 per cent) said they have felt drowsy on the road and been in danger of nodding off.

Nearly half (47 per cent) admitted that tiredness had resulted in them being a danger to themselves or other road users at some time since passing their test.

There seems to be a clear difference between genders on this topic, with almost one in four men (24 per cent) saying they had fallen asleep at the wheel, compared to only one in ten women (ten per cent).

Government guidelines state that anyone who starts to feel tired while driving should find a safe place to stop, either to have a nap or to pick up a high-caffeine drink.

Less than half (48 per cent) of drivers said they always stop for a break when they feel tired. The same proportion try to wake themselves up by opening the window, while 37 per cent rely on coffee.

The vast majority (89 per cent) of respondents to the survey said they often drive despite feeling tired because they have to work or for their own personal reasons.

SmartWitness chief executive Paul Singh said: “Driver fatigue is one of the biggest killers on our roads and we need to be doing far more to raise awareness of this major threat to road safety.”

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, added: “However urgent your journey, it’s never worth taking risks with your own or other road users’ safety, so follow the government’s advice and take a break if you feel tired.”

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