One in five road accidents on motorways and other monotonous roads are caused by someone falling asleep at the wheel, mostly involving running off the road or into the back of another vehicle.
Sleep-related crashes are particularly dangerous and likely to result in serious injury because the driver won't have woken in time to brake before impact.
You may find yourself fighting sleep in a warm car by winding down the window or turning up the radio but you might still nod off for a couple of seconds. If you're doing 70mph on a motorway you'll have travelled an eighth of a mile in that time.
Your body clock winds down at certain times, so driving between midnight and 6am, or 2pm to 4pm is particularly risky. Men under 30 are most likely to fall asleep at the wheel, in the early hours of the morning.
Motorist need to be aware about the risks of driving for too long or when they're tired, and to plan their journey so they don't reach that stage.
- Plan your journey to include a 15-minute break every two hours.
- Find a safe place to stop if you feel drowsy - not the hard shoulder.
- Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink, then take a short nap to allow the caffeine to kick in.
- Don't start a long trip if you're already tired.
- Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start a long drive.
- Try to avoid long trips between midnight and 6am when you're likely to feel sleepy anyway.
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