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Safety: The very real risk of driving while tired

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By Justin Fox, digital PR executive, Distinctly PR

Did you know that about 20% of all accidents on major roads are brought about by drivers that are lacking in sleep?

Whilst the vast majority of us know not to get behind the wheel after drinking or having your senses and reflexes compromised in any way, too many don’t seem to be aware of the all too real repercussions that can occur when driving tired.

With your ability to react to split-second possible dangers compromised, driving on a lack of sleep is a threat to both you and anyone else who happens to be near your vehicle.

The National Sleep Foundation has compiled a list of symptoms to be aware of that indicate you should seek out some rest immediately, and the main things to watch out for are as follows:

  • Inability to focus accompanied by above-normal blinking and heavy eyelids
  • Daydreaming and losing focus on the road
  • Inability to remember the last few miles driven
  • Forgetting to take your exit
  • Repeatedly drifting from your lane to the next
  • Yawning repeatedly

The two groups most susceptible to driving whilst tired are those travelling to work in the morning, and the drivers of large commercial vehicles. Commuters are viewed as a risk due to the rush they are likely to be in to reach their destination, and being forced to get up early to do so means there is a very real chance their reaction times will be more than a little sluggish.

Commercial drivers are likewise in a rush to complete their deliveries and return to base, and also suffer in particular from a lack of adequate rest stops.

The Freight Transport Association has in the past labelled the lack of overnight facilities for truckers as "an example of pound signs winning over common sense", denying them not just a place to stay but also suitable security for them and their cargo.

As common sense as it might be, the issue of tired driving is one that can’t be discussed enough. It’s so easily avoidable as well, so don’t ruin your life over something so seemingly trivial.

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