Advice - fatigue

Studies have shown that drivers don’t fall asleep without warning. Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel have often tried to fight off drowsiness by opening a window, or by turning up the radio. This doesn’t work for long.

The facts

• Research suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related
• Sleep-related accidents are more likely than others to result in a fatality or serious injury
• Peak times for accidents are in the early hours and after lunch
• About 40% of sleep-related accidents involve commercial vehicles
• Men under 30 have the highest risk of falling asleep at the wheel

Advice from the Government’s THINK! road safety campaign

• Plan your journey to include a 15-minute break every two hours.
• 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.
• If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to stop – not the hard shoulder of a motorway. Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for the caffeine to kick in.
• Remember, the only real cure for sleepiness is proper sleep. A caffeine drink or a nap is a short-term solution that will only allow you to keep driving for a short time.

More advice and information

A number of organisations have prepared advice and information about the dangers of driver fatigue, including:

THINK! road safety campaign


Brake, the road safety charity