Male drivers urged to wake up

JonathanJanuary 6, 2014

People take out car leasing contracts for a number of reasons, whether it be for professional or personal needs. Many enjoy the flexibility that it can offer a driver as it can give you a cost effective way to change your model more often.

A large number of the people that opt for car leasing contracts are male and new research highlights that they could be particularly at risk.

Brake is urging male drivers to make sure they get plenty of sleep before getting behind the wheel and remember to take regular breaks when on a long trip.

New research by the road safety charity reveals that nearly half of male motorists (45 per cent) admit to “head-nodding” at the wheel, meaning they have risked their own life, and the lives of others, by briefly falling asleep when driving.

More than a third of all drivers (31 per cent) have fallen asleep for a short time while behind the wheel. However, men were more prone to do this dangerous habit as nearly half of male drivers did it, while just 22 per cent of women had done the same.

Putting others at a much higher risk, seven per cent of motorists had actually fallen asleep while driving, with 14 per cent of men and two per cent of women had admitted to doing so.

This could be caused by not getting enough sleep at night as nearly half of the drivers surveyed (49 per cent) got less than five hours’ sleep. However, this was more common for males than females, with 55 per cent of men confessing to it compared to just 45 per cent of women.

Speaking about the research, Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “The fact that so many drivers – especially men – have head-nodded at the wheel is horrifying, even more so that many don’t recognise this means they have fallen asleep briefly.

She said that it suggests that not enough people are getting a sufficient amount of sleep before getting behind the wheel.

“We need all drivers to wake up to the fact that ‘head nodding’ is falling asleep, and can easily lead to catastrophe, but it can, of course be prevented,” added Ms Townsend.

Contrary to popular belief, opening your windows or turning up the radio won’t stop you from falling asleep. If you feel tired behind the wheel, you need to take a break and have a coffee or energy drink and then have a ten minute nap in your vehicle.

This will give the caffeine time to set in and you should feel alert enough to drive safely. However, if you don’t, you should not carry on driving. The effects of caffeine are only temporary so it’s important to not make a habit of it and get a good nights’ sleep.

If you wake up in the morning feeling exhausted, struggle to stay awake, snore or wake up struggling to breathe, you may suffer from sleep apnoea. This means you could be at a higher risk of crashing and you should stop driving until you have seen a doctor.

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