More than 1,000 drivers were quizzed as part of a study and more than half of them (58%) say they have driven aware they felt ‘very tired’.
Men were found to be the worst culprits, with two-thirds (64%) admitting they have driven while fatigued.
A spokesman for breakdown company Green Flag, which conducted the study, said the finding that 8.6%, or nearly one in 10, of motorists had fallen asleep at the wheel should provide a wake-up call to fleets.
He said: ‘Although most companies will already have guidelines laid down as part of their risk assessments on how many miles company car drivers can travel every day, it is important for the fleet managers to liaise with the sales director to ensure this is adhered to and that suitable breaks are factored into the journey time.
‘Driving uses a high level of awareness and for company car drivers there are other distractions such as using sat-nav units, talking on hands-free phones and perhaps even thinking about the meeting they are about to attend, so it is important they are aware of when they start to feel tired.’
He said many drivers try to fight tiredness by turning up the radio or opening a window but added: ‘It’s a fight you can’t win, so find a safe place to rest.’
The company highlights research that suggests motorists who have fallen asleep at the wheel cannot react to an accident so are 50% more likely to die or suffer serious injury as a result.
Tips to avoid tired driving