ALMOST 50 per cent of male drivers have nodded off at the wheel, according to a shocking new report.
It reveals that 45 per cent of men questioned admitted “head-nodding” while driving – meaning they have been briefly asleep.
At least 300 people are killed each year as a result of drivers falling asleep at the wheel
The research, from Brake and Direct Line, also showed that 22 per cent of women drivers admitted the same problem.
And because company car drivers tend, in general, to spend more hours at the wheel they are particularly at risk from sleeping at the wheel.
Nearly half of all tiredness-related crashes involve someone driving a commercial vehicle.
At least 300 people are killed each year as a result of drivers falling asleep at the wheel and tiredness is estimated to cause one in five deaths on UK trunk roads.
The report reveals that one in 14 drivers confessed to actually falling asleep at the wheel, with 55 % of men and 45% of women admitting being on the road after less than five hours sleep.
Now Brake wants all drivers to pledge to always get a good night’s sleep before getting behind the wheel, taking two hourly breaks and pulling over somewhere safe as soon as they feel tired. (Read more on how you can guard against falling asleep at the wheel.)
It also wants the government to run more campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of driving when tired and how to avoid it, as well as conducting a review of safe stopping places on motorways to make sure there are enough to enable drivers to take regular breaks.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “The fact that so many drivers – especially men – have head-nodded at the wheel is horrifying, even more so that many don’t recognise this means they have fallen asleep briefly.
“This survey suggests this is down to many people failing to ensure they always get sufficient sleep before embarking on journeys. We need all drivers to wake up to the fact that ‘head nodding’ is falling asleep, and can easily lead to catastrophe, but it can, of course be prevented.
“Brake urges all drivers to pledge to get a good night’s sleep before driving, take breaks every two hours, and never try to ‘plough on’ when they’re tired, because sleep can ensue so quickly. Ultimately, getting home to your loved ones a bit later is better than never getting there at all.”
Rob Miles, director of Motor at Direct Line, commented: “Tiredness and driving are a deadly combination. Not only is there a risk of falling asleep at the wheel, but when we are tired our reactions and awareness of our surroundings are not as sharp as they would normally be.
“Regular breaks, at least every two hours, are essential for staying alert and awake, as is getting plenty of sleep the night before.”