Half of male drivers admit nodding off at the wheel

Road safety charity warns that tired driving kills at least 300 people on UK roads every year

Nearly half of male drivers are putting lives at risk by nodding off at the wheel, prompting calls for everyone on the road to take proper breaks.

A survey by a road safety charity revealed that 45 per cent of male drivers admitted falling asleep briefly, compared to just a fifth of women.

More men than women also said they had fallen fully asleep while driving and almost half of the drivers surveyed admitted driving after less than five hours sleep.

Charity Brake, which carried out the research with Direct Line, said tired driving kills at least 300 people on UK roads every year and the actual figure could be much higher.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, said: “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.

“Ultimately, getting home to your loved ones a bit later is better than never getting there at all.”

She urged road users to get a good night’s sleep before driving, take breaks every two hours and stop if they feel tired.

The sensation of nodding off is actually a “micro-sleep” where people can be unconscious for between two and 30 seconds, travelling hundreds of metres while out of control.

Andrew Radford, 33, died in 2008 after crashing when he fell asleep at the wheel.

The primary school teacher was on his way back home from work in Shropshire when his car veered on to the wrong side of the road and crashed head-on into another vehicle.

Mr Radford, a father of two, died in hospital after telling a paramedic at the scene he fell asleep and had decided to keep driving without a break.

His wife, Vicki, said: “I wish that we had known more about tired driving and taken it more seriously. Andrew was a good driver[…]I wish that he had stopped to rest.”

Brake is lobbying the government to raise awareness about the dangers, which particularly affect people driving long distances for work, and to provide more rest areas.

Winding down the window and turning up the radio does not prevent sleep and the effects of caffeine are short lived, the charity warned.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence