Road safety partnership warns ‘don’t drive tired’

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DON’T drive tired – that’s the message from Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership after a survey revealed that one in eight drivers have nodded off at the wheel during the past year.

Mike Ashworth, the chairman of Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership, said: “These drivers only nodded off for a few seconds but that’s still long enough to cause a fatal crash.

“Crashes caused by tiredness often involve one vehicle smashing into another or leaving the road altogether. Impacts often occur at a high speed because the sleepy driver brakes too late or not at all.”

The research, commissioned by road safety charity Brake and diet plan company Cambridge Weight Plan, also revealed that:

* one in four drivers have embarked on a journey when they feel drowsy

* more than a quarter continue their journey after they notice the first signs of drowsiness

* more than 80 per cent of drivers ignore government advice which says you should stop for a nap when tired

* one in seven drivers suffer from a health condition that makes them tired during the day

Partnership chairman Mike Ashworth said: “Too many drivers see tiredness as an inconvenience rather than a danger. That’s why people who wouldn’t dream of getting behind the wheel after drinking will still drive while tired.

“Sleepiness is dangerous because it affects your judgement – it increases your confidence in your driving ability and can even cause mild euphoria.”

Follow the partnership’s top tips to avoid becoming sleepy while driving:

avoid alcohol and get plenty of sleep the night before your drive

avoid eating a heavy meal before you set off – it could make you sleepy

allow yourself enough time to take a 15 minute break every two hours

avoid travelling between 2am and 7am or 2pm and 4pm – this is when drivers are most likely to crash due to tiredness

take a break if you feel tired - two cups of coffee and a ‘cat nap’ can help if you’ve only got a short distance left to travel: if not find somewhere safe to stay overnight.