Research Finds Drivers Are Asleep At The Wheel

Research Finds Drivers Asleep At The Wheel

New research by British road safety organisation IAM RoadSmart has revealed that around four million drivers have potentially fallen asleep at the wheel of a vehicle, while one in 10 people surveyed admitted to closing their eyes because they were tired.

The organisation warned that even the briefest lapse in concentration when driving can have tragic consequences, as a vehicle travelling at 70 MPH (113 km/h) travels more than 30 metres every second.

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart, said the results of the survey are alarming. “Fatigue behind the wheel is a very serious problem, perhaps more concerning than previously thought,” he said. “It is shocking to think a potential four million drivers have closed their eyes behind the wheel because they were so tired, even if it was just for a short time. The potential carnage that could result from even one accident doesn’t bear thinking about.”

The research also showed that millions of drivers have succumbed to tiredness when driving, with one in 10 admitting they had hit the rumble strip while 40 per cent have turned down heating or rolled down windows to prevent the effects of tiredness. Around 25 per cent of drivers had pulled over for a rest and/or a coffee, one of a number of measures advocated by IAM RoadSmart to counter the risks of tired driving.

“Driving a long distance needs pre-planning to ensure there are plenty of available rest places and to make sure there’s enough time to complete the journey if delays are encountered,” said Greig. “Never drive for longer than two hours without a break and take particular care if driving when you would normally be asleep. This is even more important as the country re-opens after the pandemic and not all facilities may be available yet.

“Drivers can then concentrate on staying alert behind the wheel rather than staving off tiredness by trying to reach their end destination without adequate rest breaks.”