Safety first ahead  of Bank Holiday

Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, drivers have been reminded that fatigue causes 20% of road collisions.

Road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist has issued the warning as thousands of families prepare for long journeys.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said, ‘A fatigue-related crash is around 50 per cent more likely to result in death or serious injury, simply because a driver who has fallen asleep at the wheel will be unable to reduce speed or change direction to avoid a collision. The consequences can be devastating.’

Falling asleep at the wheel is easily avoided, but as Neil Worth continues, it’s vital you heed the many warning signs your body will give you before you actually nod off.

He said, ‘No one simply falls asleep without passing through various recognisable stages of tiredness and distraction. You will experience difficulty focusing on the driving task, you may fidget, yawn constantly and rub your eyes frequently. When more serious levels of fatigue set in, you may find your thoughts constantly wandering away from driving, you may drift to the left or right, you may be slowing down without realising and you’ll suddenly find you cannot recall anything that happened in the past few minutes.

‘At this stage your driving performance is seriously impaired, and it’s vital that you stop somewhere safe as soon as possible. A power nap and/or a caffeine-based drink can provide a short-term fix, but they should never be used as an acceptable substitute for proper rest. If you’re that tired, you must stop and rest properly.’

GEM suggests: get a good night’s sleep before you drive a long journey; build in time to reach your destination (or your night-stop) without rushing. Remove time pressures wherever possible; avoid driving alone for long distances if possible. Share the driving and support each other by watching for any signs of fatigue; on long journeys, take a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or 100 miles. Get out of the car, do some exercise, stretch or walk; and don’t press on into the night. Avoid driving at times when you would usually be asleep.