Research & reports

Title: Driving tired: a survey by Brake and Direct Line

Organisation: Brake
Date uploaded: 4th November 2010
Date published/launched: August 2010

In this survey nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) admitted driving tired in the past 12 months, with almost one in 10 (9%) saying they did so at least once a week.

This research by Brake and Direct Line shows the vast majority admit driving while tired, and drivers don’t know the difference between fact and fiction on tackling sleepiness at the wheel.

The survey found that nearly three-quarters of drivers (74%) admit driving tired in the past 12 months – with almost one in ten (9%) saying they did so at least once a week. This is a huge increase from six years ago, when 46% of drivers owned up to getting behind the wheel while tired.

An estimated one in five fatal crashes on trunk roads are caused by tired drivers – although the real figure could be higher, because it can be difficult to prove when a crash was caused by a driver falling asleep. They tend to be high-speed crashes, because drivers do not brake before crashing, so the risk of death or serious injury is greater.

Despite this, most drivers simply don’t know how often they should take rest breaks to help prevent tiredness, and what to do if they get sleepy behind the wheel. The Government advises breaks every two hours on long journeys, yet Brake and Direct Line’s survey found that almost three-quarters (73%) fail to follow this advice by driving for three hours or more at a time.

If drivers do feel tired behind the wheel, they are advised to pull over somewhere safe as soon as possible, drink caffeine, and then take a short power nap – or find somewhere to stay overnight and get a good night’s sleep. All other methods of staying awake and alert at the wheel are unproven.

For more information contact:
Brake Media Enquiries
T: 01484 559909

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