Everyone knows how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Recent studies show that if we get one hour less sleep than the recommended seven hours then we may nearly double our risk of getting in an accident the next day. Another study has found that one in six crashes results in death or injury on major roads due to fatigue. Between the hours of 0200 – 0600 and 1400 – 1600 there is more chance of someone having an accident because these are the times when people are more likely to be tired.
If you are driving for a long while then:
- Don’t drive for more than 8 hours in a day.
- Take regular fifteen-minute breaks in journeys over three hours.
- Aim to stop every two hours or so, especially if you’re not used to driving long distances.
- If you feel at all sleepy, stop in a safe place. Don’t stop on a motorway hard shoulder.
- The best way to counter sleepiness is to drink two cups of caffeinated coffee and to take a short nap of at least 15 minutes – check for parking restrictions before you do so.
- Plan journeys so that you can take breaks, allowing for an overnight stay if necessary. Even experienced HGV drivers are prevented from driving more than 9 hours in a day or working for over 13 hours in a day. Most car drivers are nowhere near as used to driving for this long.
- Don’t start a long journey if you’re tired.
- Heavy meals can make you sleepy.
- Driving at times when you would normally be asleep brings extra risk, particularly the early morning.
Strenuous exercise before driving can also have a bad effect – especially for older people.
Please keep safe on the road and if you feel tired on the road then stop on the hard shoulder or stop at the nearest service station and take a quick nap.
Remember that waiting for a couple of minutes is better than not waiting for a couple of minutes and then being involved in an accident.