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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy