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One in eight drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel, survey suggests

A survey found one in eight UK drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel Photo: PA

One in eight (13%) UK drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel, a new survey suggests.

The research was commissioned by the AA Charitable Trust to mark the launch of a campaign to alert motorists to the dangers of drowsy driving.

Government data shows 62 people died and 462 were seriously injured on Britain’s roads last year when fatigue was a contributory factor.

The true figure is believed to be much higher due to under-reporting.

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A study published by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety in March 2016 estimated that up to a quarter of fatal accidents are caused by drivers who have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The AA Charitable Trust survey of 20,561 motorists found that men are three times more likely than women to admit to falling asleep while driving (17% compared with 5%).

The most common reasons given for driving tired were a long or hard day at work (39%), the monotony of the journey (33%) and late night driving (27%).

Trust director Edmund King described drowsiness as “one of the most under-estimated risks on the roads”.

He said: “Crashes involving a drowsy driver tend to be catastrophic.

“If a driver has fallen asleep at the wheel they do not brake before an impact and make no attempt to steer away from a collision.

“A driver who nods off for just three or four seconds on a motorway would have covered the length of a football pitch with closed eyes.

“Winding down the window, singing and turning up the radio are not remedies to tiredness, rather a symptom in themselves.

“If you feel tiredness creeping up on you when driving then stop and take a break.”