Tempcover poll reveals startling statistics about tired driving

Driving while tired

There are many hazards drivers face when getting behind the wheel but one that’s often overlooked is tiredness. In a recent Tempcover poll of 2,000 British drivers aged between 18 and 65, more than half admitted to tired driving.

Younger drivers appear to be the worst culprits with around a quarter (28%) of 25-34-year-olds confessed to falling asleep at the wheel while 34% said they had driven with fewer than four hours’ sleep.

Drowsy driving vs drink driving

The dangers of driving while tired may seem obvious but as our poll revealed many drivers (39%) are unaware that it has similar effects on the body as drinking alcohol.

Being awake for an extended period of time before driving can make you drive like you have a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .05.*

When you consider that .10 is the maximum BAC limit in England and Wales and .06 is the limit in Scotland you can see how much of an impact driving tired can have.

According to the Drowsy Driving campaign from the National Sleep Foundation, sleepiness or fatigue causes the following:

  • Impaired reaction time, judgment and vision
  • Problems with information processing and short-term memory
  • Decreased performance, vigilance and motivation
  • Increased moodiness and aggressive behaviours

These effects can have a huge impact on how you drive and a combination of any of these can greatly increase your chances of a fatigue-related crash.

tired driving

Taking a break while driving

The Department for Transport recommends drivers take a 15-minute break every two hours but not only did 53% of drivers polled reveal they were unaware of this advice but a quarter claimed they would only take a break once every four hours – double the recommended time!

Our research also revealed that almost a third of British drivers will only take a break on a long drive if they need something such as going to the toilet or getting something to eat.

Meanwhile, one in ten actively avoids taking breaks as it slows the journey down.

Advice for drivers

Along with taking a 15-minute break every two hours, drivers are advised to:

  • Don’t start a long trip if you’re already tired
  • Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start a long drive
  • Try to avoid long trips between midnight and 6 am when you’re likely to feel sleepy anyway
  • If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to stop – not the hard shoulder of a motorway
  • Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for the caffeine to kick in

Remember, the only real cure for sleepiness is proper sleep. A caffeine drink or a nap is a short-term solution that will only allow you to keep driving for a short time.§

Some tricks that many of our drivers believed to be effective at staving off tiredness including winding down the windows (37%) and turning up the radio (19%) have no evidence to support their effectiveness at combating tiredness.

Tiredness isn’t the only enemy!

With festival season in full swing, it’s not just tiredness that can affect drivers on the road. Our findings reveal that a fifth (20%) of under-55s have driven while still under the influence of alcohol from the night before.

Temporary car insurance

No matter how far you’re driving, the risk of driving tired or under the influence of alcohol Is a real danger.

A quick, easy and affordable way to avoid the risks is with a temporary car insurance policy. With short term cover, you can share the driving without having to change your existing car insurance.

It only takes a couple of minutes to purchase and with cover available instantly, you can get a policy any time you need.

Get a quote online now and see how Tempcover could help you.



* National Sleep Foundation



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