Estimates on the number of road accidents for which tiredness was a contributing factor vary from 10% to 24%. An exact figure is difficult to pin down as tiredness cannot be detected by an observer, but according to surveys half of drivers admit driving while drowsy at least once a year.
Whatever the numbers, falling asleep or feeling sleepy while in control of a vehicle clearly increases the risk of an accident. Also, any collisions are often more severe because the driver does not brake beforehand.
Young drivers, professional drivers and shift workers are particularly at risk of driving while tired.
Tiredness affects the mind and body in more ways than you might imagine.
Tiredness is not only a result of a lack of sleep. You can also feel sleepy if you are jetlagged or working unusual hours, you have had a particularly demanding day, you are ill, or the driving is monotonous – for example on a motorway. Whatever the reason, recognise the signs and take action.