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‘Deadly and horrifying’: HALF of drivers have nodded off at wheel, shocking study reveals

Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 14:00
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SLEEPY: Have you driven tired?

Millions of drivers are risking appalling crashes by falling asleep at the wheel, a study has revealed.

Research by Brake and Direct Line has shown an incredible 45% of men and 22% of women have admitted to micro-sleeping on the road – meaning they have briefly nodded off for between two and 30seconds.

Incredibly, one in 14 drivers overall (7%) admit to actually falling asleep at the wheel, with 14% of male drivers and 2% of female drivers doing so.

Meanwhile, almost half (49%) of motorists admit driving after less than five hours’ sleep.

Julie Townsend, Deputy Chief Executive of Brake, said: “The fact that so many drivers – especially men – have head-nodded at the wheel is horrifying, even more so that many don’t recognise this means they have fallen asleep briefly.

“This survey suggests this is down to many people failing to ensure they always get sufficient sleep before embarking on journeys.

“We need all drivers to wake up to the fact that ‘head-nodding’ is falling asleep, and can easily lead to catastrophe, but it can, of course be prevented.

“Brake urges all drivers to pledge to get a good night’s sleep before driving, take breaks every two hours, and never try to ‘plough on’ when they’re tired, because sleep can ensue so quickly.

“Ultimately, getting home to your loved ones a bit later is better than never getting there at all.”

Rob Miles, Director of Motor at Direct Line, added: “Tiredness and driving are a deadly combination.

“Not only is there a risk of falling asleep at the wheel, but when we are tired our reactions and awareness of our surroundings are not as sharp as they would normally be.

“Regular breaks, at least every two hours, are essential for staying alert and awake, as is getting plenty of sleep the night before.”