The vast majority of the 1,000 drivers interviewed (78%) put their trust in ineffective measures to combat tiredness such as opening a window or listening to the radio.
Drivers were three times more likely to open the window when tired than take a nap while safely parked, which is recommended by the government.
One in 14 (7%) admitted falling asleep while driving in the past year while a quarter (26%) said they had been a passenger with a tired driver.
Brake and Green Flag are concerned that not enough drivers know the proven measures to avoid tired driving: a good night’s sleep before a journey, stopping at least every two hours or stopping to take a nap if they feel tired.
Brake is calling for the government to invest in high profile campaigns to combat this deadly ignorance.
A spokesman said: “Driver tiredness is a factor in 96 fatal crashes a year and leads to countless more serious injuries.
“The real death toll is likely to be much higher as it is difficult to prove that a driver was tired or asleep at the time of a crash.
“Brake is appealing for drivers to stop this preventable death toll and never drive while tired.”