GEM Motoring Assist has warned drivers to ‘guard against complacency’ when it comes to fatigue as thousands of families plan summer holidays that could involve road journeys of several hundred miles.
The breakdown and road safety organisation says tiredness increases the risk of a collision as drivers become less aware of what’s happening around them, and a fatigued driver’s’ ability to react is impaired if a risky situation develops.
GEM points to statistics which show that fatigue can be a factor in up to 20% of all road collisions, and up to 25% of fatal and serious crashes.
GEM is advising drivers to ensure they are properly rested before setting off on a long journey, and offering tips to reduce the risk of a fatigue-related collision.
The tips, which include taking a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or 100 miles, are outlined in a GEM video (featured).
David Williams MBE, GEM chief executive, said: “A fatigue-related crash is around 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury, simply because a driver who has fallen asleep at the wheel will be unable to reduce speed or change direction to avoid a collision.
“No one simply falls asleep without passing through various recognisable stages of tiredness and distraction.
“You will experience difficulty focusing on the driving task, you may fidget, yawn constantly and rub your eyes frequently. When more serious levels of fatigue set in, you may find your thoughts constantly wandering away from driving, you may drift to the left or right, you may be slowing down without realising and you’ll suddenly find you cannot recall anything that happened in the past few minutes.
“At this stage your driving performance is seriously impaired, and it’s vital that you stop somewhere safe as soon as possible. A power nap and/or a caffeine-based drink can provide a short-term fix, but they should never be used as an acceptable substitute for proper rest. If you’re that tired, you must stop and rest properly.”