Four million drivers are at ‘serious risk of ‘carnage’ accidents, fines and penalty points

UK mobile phone driving laws explained by the RAC

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New data from road safety charity IAM RoadSmart warns one in ten road users are closing their eyes while driving a car. More than half of drivers said they were concerned about fatigue when travelling long distances.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy and Research said drivers dropping off was a “serious problem” and was “more concerning” than many were aware of.

He warned simply closing your eyes for a split second could lead to “carnage” as drivers would be unaware of their actions.

He said: “Fatigue behind the wheel is a very serious problem, perhaps more concerning than previously thought of.

“It is shocking to think a potential four million drivers have closed their eyes behind the wheel because they were so tired, even if it was just for a short time.

“The potential carnage that could result from even one accident doesn’t bear thinking about.”

One in ten road users said their car had driven over a rumble strip while they were tired.

A total of 40 percent said they had turned down their heating or rolled down their windows to stop them from falling asleep or becoming tired.

According to the RAC, any accidents caused from falling asleep could be classified as dangerous driving.

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Each dangerous driving charge will be different and penalties will determine on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

However, in most cases drivers will be hit with an unlimited fine and a driving ban.

According to Raodwise, drivers could also be hit with between 3 and 11 penalty points on their licence and road users could lose their job.

Falling asleep on busy roads such as motorways is even more dangerous as motorists will not be able to react to possible hazards.

This could see them hit into slow traffic ahead, drive into the side of cars preventing them or hitting cars joining from a slip road.

Data from IAMRoad Smart said just one-quarter of road users said they have pulled over for a rest or coffee when they felt tired.

Mr Greig urged road users to plan ahead of a long journey and make sure there were “plenty of rest places”.

He urged drivers to take breaks every couple of hours to ensure they always feel fresh.

Mr Greig added: “Driving a long distance needs pre-planning to ensure there are plenty of available rest places and to make sure there’s enough time to complete the journey if delays are encountered.

“Never drive for longer than two hours without a break and take particular care if driving when you would normally be asleep.

“This is even more important as the country reopens after the pandemic and not all facilities may be available yet.

“Drivers can then concentrate on staying alert behind the wheel rather than staving off tiredness by trying to reach their end destination without adequate rest breaks.”

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