Motorists 'failing to take adequate breaks'One in ten have nodded off at wheel

20 August 2007

 

Cars in a traffic jam

Many motorists are driving long distances without adequate breaks, a survey from the AA shows today.

As many as 5 per cent of drivers never stop at all on long journeys, while 23 per cent only pull over for a quick toilet break.

Around 10 per cent of those polled admitted to nodding off at the wheel and 28 per cent said they continued driving when tired in order to reach their destination quicker.

The survey also showed that 44 per cent often drove all through the night when on long-distance trips.

The AA said drivers on trips of up to three hours should have at least one break, with additional breaks if trips are longer.

Sleep deprivation

The organisation added that more than 3,000 deaths and serious injuries on UK roads each year are attributed to sleep deprivation.

Professor Jim Horne, Director of Loughborough University's sleep research centre, said: 'The best way to combat driver tiredness on long journeys is to have a strong cup of coffee or a functional energy drink followed by a 20-minute 'power nap'. It is key that drivers realise the seriousness of this issue as one in 10 of all car accidents is the result of driver fatigue, and one in five on motorways.

'On top of this, sleep-related crashes are twice as likely to result in death or serious injury because of the high impact speed and lack of avoiding action so it's incredibly important to take regular and effective breaks from driving.'

Adam Ashmore, AA patrolman of the year, said: 'The majority of motorists do not regularly drive long distances, so when they do it can be tempting to skip breaks and keep driving. When planning long journeys, people should always factor in breaks and allow extra time to get to their destination.'

© The Press Association, All Rights Reserved