Four million drivers asleep at the wheel

A staggering four million drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel, according to new research by IAM RoadSmart.

The research also found that one in 10 of those surveyed admitted to closing their eyes because they were tired.

The perils of even these lapses can be tragic as a vehicle travels 100ft every second when driving at 70mph.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Fatigue behind the wheel is a very serious problem, perhaps more concerning than previously thought of. It is shocking to think a potential four million drivers have closed their eyes behind the wheel because they were so tired, even if it was just for a short time. The potential carnage that could result from even one accident doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Other results from the research also highlighted that millions of drivers have succumbed to tiredness when driving, with one in 10 admitting they had hit the rumble strip, while 40% have turned down the heating or rolled down the windows in order to stop them from being tired.

Greig added: “Driving a long distance needs pre-planning to ensure there are plenty of available rest places and to make sure there’s enough time to complete the journey if delays are encountered. Never drive for longer than two hours without a break and take particular care if driving when you would normally be asleep. This is even more important as the country reopens after the pandemic and not all facilities may be available yet.

“Drivers can then concentrate on staying alert behind the wheel rather than staving off tiredness by trying to reach their end destination without adequate rest breaks.”