Driver safety – Driver fatigue

There are thousands of road accidents caused by driver fatigue each and every year in the UK. It’s believed that up to 20% of road accidents could be attributed to driver fatigue and up to 25% of all fatal accidents, which is a shocking statistic.

Where driver fatigue is concerned, driving whilst tired dramatically increases your risk of death or serious injury on the roads as these crashes tend to be very high impact due to the speeds involved. If you fall asleep at the wheel, it’s impossible to avoid a collision or reduce your speed in time.

When tired, drivers are sleepy, they have a slow reaction time, are less vigilant, less alert and have a reduced concentration span. Therefore driving whilst tired can be deadly. Drivers who are tired tend to crash on long monotonous roads such as a motorway, the danger time is between 2am and 6am or mid afternoon when some drivers have had a heavy lunch, after having less sleep than is normally required, after drinking alcohol, taking medicines or after working irregular unsociable hours.

Those most at risk are young male truck drivers, company car drivers and shift workers. In addition, young males tend to be involved in situations which can result in fatigue such as going out, drinking alcohol or not getting enough sleep.

Many professional drivers, especially those who are HGV drivers report increased levels of sleepiness and are involved in a high number of fatigue-related accidents.

Paul Beresford runs Defensive Driver Training. DDT offers defensive and advanced driver training to help keep the roads, and its drivers safe and secure. DDT helps to train company, fleet and personal drivers keeping insurance and repair costs down. He says:

“There are steps you can take to ensure that you don’t fall asleep at the wheel, risking your life and the lives of those around you. The Highway Code (Rule 91) gives the following advice:

– Make sure you are fit to drive. Do not begin a journey if you are tired. Get a good night’s sleep before embarking on a long journey.

– Avoid undertaking long journeys between midnight and 6am, when natural alertness is at a minimum

– Plan your journey to take sufficient breaks. A minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving is recommended

– If you feel sleepy, stop in a safe place. Do not stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway

– The most effective ways to counter sleepiness are to drink, for example, two cups of caffeinated coffee and to take a short nap (up to 15 minutes).”

There are temporary measures you can take in the short term but we don’t recommend that you function on these while driving regularly – these include drinking caffeine and taking naps. It’s essential that you are well rested, plan your journey to include regular rests, set out on long journeys in the morning after a good night’s sleep, avoid driving at night and don’t drink and drive.”

Notes to Editors

Defensive Driver Training Limited has over 23 years’ experience providing cost effective Defensive and Advanced Driving Courses in all types of vehicles. Click here to find out more about us.

Assisting major blue chip companies, NHS Trusts, Local Authorities and other public sector organisations to implement long term, low cost strategies have a proven track record of improving fuel efficiency, reducing claims rates, repair costs and insurance premiums. With a flexible approach and innovative courses which minimize disruption to clients’ business, their pool of trainers are exceptional at devising bespoke training programmes that address clients’ specific needs. Click here to find out more about what Defensive Driver Training courses entail.

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