Tiredness and Driving
Did you know that studies have shown that 20% of crashes on the road are down to people being too tired at the wheel? That’s a high percentage for something that is so easily preventable.
According to the government’s website Think – Don’t Drive Tired – people that are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel are men under 30, and the peak times for crashes are after lunch and the early hours of the morning.
The world is a busy place, and often involves juggling work and family life. Many with young children will also know that they don’t always sleep as well as they might. But tiredness can impair both your judgement and reaction time, as well as having very serious consequences.
Studies have shown that tiredness can impact your driving in the same way that drink driving can. The Sleep Foundation has found that being awake for 18 hours straight is the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of 0.05. 0.08 or 8mg of alcohol to 10 litres of blood is the current UK limit. But in Scotland, this is actually the legal driving limit! Being awake for 24 hours straight puts you well above the legal driving limit throughout the UK.
Which means that sleeping for just 6 hours per night, can seriously impair your ability to drive safely. So, if you are driving and feel drowsy, while opening the window and turning up the radio can help in the very short term, what you really need to do is take a break from driving.
Make sure to find somewhere safe to stop, like the motorway services and most definitely not the hard shoulder. Take a break for twenty minutes, get some fresh air, have a caffeinated drink and if you can manage it a twenty minute nap is even better. The recommendation is that for every two hours you drive, you should always plan a 15 minute break, so remember to plan that into your journey time.
Getting a good night’s sleep is good for your well being, but also for the safety of yourself and those around you. Never plan a long drive when you are tired and next time you get into a car, think am I too tired to drive or should I make alternative arrangements? Because whatever your plans, they are not worth having a crash.