Remember that drowsiness when driving can be a killer

It only takes seconds of sleep behind the wheel to cause a fatal crash, but new research results by charity Brake and Cambridge Weight Plan reveals one in eight drivers has ‘head-nodded’ at the wheel in the past year.

Head-nodding occurs when someone nods off to between two and 30 seconds, often without realising that they have been asleep. The survey of 1,000 drivers also revealed risky behaviour among many that can contribute to tiredness, with one in four admitting embarking on a journey when they felt drowsy.

The vast majority (86 per cent) are also failing to follow best practice advice on dealing with tiredness at the wheel, by stopping somewhere safe for a nap. More than a quarter (29 per cent) put their own and others’ lives on the line by continuing their journey after they notice drowsiness.

In addition, one in seven drivers surveyed (13 per cent) reported suffering from a health condition such as sleep apnoea that makes them tired during the day. Sleep apnoea can cause daytime sleepiness, and in some cases can cause the sufferer to fall asleep without warning.

Brake will call on the government to renew efforts to raise awareness of driver tiredness as a major cause of death and serious injury,.