One In Eight Drivers Have Fallen Asleep At The Wheel

With increasing congestion and ever more demanding routines, driving can be a tiring experience. Every driver at some stage of his or her driving career has felt fatigue whilst at the wheel, but a new survey conducted by the AA Charitable Trust has revealed the extent of the problem, with one in eight drivers having fallen asleep whilst at the wheel. 

The survey questioned over 20,000 motorists about how tired they felt whilst driving. Whilst 1 in 8 drivers admitted to having fallen asleep, 37% claimed that they’d driven whilst so tired that they felt as though they were at risk of dozing off. There was also disparity between the sexes, with 17% of men admitting to have fallen asleep as opposed to just 5% of women. In addition, drivers aged between 18 and 24 were the most likely to believe that being tired doesn’t affect their driving ability and are also the most likely to continue driving when tired at 18%.

It was also discovered that 57% of drivers took a break when they began to feel tired, as opposed to 34% of drivers aged between 18 and 24. 36% of all drivers surveyed stated that they’d typically feel fine when starting a journey, being taken by surprise only afterwards. The top cited reasons for exhaustion at the wheel were a long day at work (39%), monotony (33%), driving late at night (27%), trying to cover too much distance in one go (27%) and a lack of sleep the previous night (26%).

The AA charitable trust director and president, Edmund King, commented on the survey’s results, stating “a driver who nods off for just three or four seconds on a motorway would have covered the length of a football pitch with closed eyes. A 30-second nap while travelling at 60mph covers half a mile – a terrifying thought.”

Up to 25% of all fatal accidents are caused by drivers feeling drowsy at the wheel, a staggering figure which reveals the true extent of the problem. But the problem is easily addressed, King suggested that “simple measures can help alleviate the risks. Awareness of the problem is the first step, which is why we have launched this campaign and created an advert highlighting the dangers.” Following the research, the AA will be working in conjunction with the FIA Foundation to raise awareness of the issue. So far, a video has been released demonstrating the devastating consequences of falling asleep whilst driving. It’s also released a useful guide which can be found via the following link:

What To Do When You’re Tired Whilst Driving:

  • As soon as you feel tired, stop and take a break
  • Find somewhere safe, like a motorway service station. Don’t use the hard shoulder
  • Consider drinking coffee or a drink with caffeine in it
  • If possible, take a short power nap; between 10 and 20 minutes is usually sufficient

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