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Millions of drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel, says survey

Millions of drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel, says survey

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A potential four million drivers have fallen asleep while at the wheel, according to a new study.

The survey, conducted by road safety charity IAM Roadsmart, found that one in ten of the 1,000 motorists questioned had momentarily closed their eyes when driving because they were so tired. 

On top of this, more than half of drivers also said that they felt concerned about fatigue when driving long distances. When applied to the more than 40 million licence holders in the UK, this equates to more than 20 million drivers. 

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Fatigue behind the wheel is a very serious problem, perhaps more concerning than previously thought of.

“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 study also found that one in ten admitted that they had hit the rumble strip of a road through tiredness, while four in ten had turned down the heating or lowered the windows as a way of keeping themselves awake. 

Greig added: “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. 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 reopens 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.”