UK & World News
Third Of Drivers Admit To Nodding Off At Wheel
Almost a third of drivers admit to "nodding off" behind the wheel, according to a survey.
A poll by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line has found that nearly half of men (45%) say they have momentarily "head nodded", compared to one in five (22%) of female drivers.
One in fourteen people overall (7%) have actually fallen asleep while driving - 14% of male drivers and just 2% of female drivers.
Also, 49% of the 1,000 drivers surveyed said they had driven after less than five hours of sleep.
Men (55%) were also more likely than women (45%) to drive after less than five hours sleep.
Vicki Radford's husband Andrew, from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, died after falling asleep at the wheel in 2008, just minutes from home.
Mrs Radford said: "Before he lost consciousness he did actually say to the guy who was treating him, the paramedic, he said 'I was so close to home I thought I would be ok'.
"That's why he didn't stop, if only he had stopped the car and been late home, that would have been much better than not coming home."
Dr Louise Reynor, from the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, says people should not be driving if they are "head nodding".
"You first of all start by taking lots of blinks then you have head nods then eventually you fall asleep and that period can last up to 20 minutes ... that's a very dangerous situation to be in when your head is nodding you're on the verge of going to sleep."
Brake says studies show that tired driving kills at least 300 people on UK roads every year.
Deputy chief executive of the road safety charity, Julie Townsend, 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.
"Brake urges all drivers to pledge to get a good night's sleep before driving, take breaks every two hours, and never try to 'plough on' when they're tired, because sleep can ensue so quickly."
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