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A survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of claims portal found that 61 per cent of motorists north of the border have got behind the wheel when tired – the highest proportion of any region in the UK.
John Quail, managing director of claims.co.uk, said: “The dangers of getting behind the wheel when tired can often be overlooked or downplayed, when in fact driving when tired is extremely serious and can cause fatal accidents.”
In addition, latest research from the Department for Transport found that being tired behind the wheel could be a contributory factor in as many as 20% of road accidents, according to claims.co.uk.
Below, Trusted Dealers lists a few tips for helping drivers to stay alert behind the wheel this summer.
Take breaks – the most important factor when you’re feeling tired and driving is to take regular breaks. You shouldn’t drive for more than 2 hours at a time without a short break.
Drink caffeine – Make sure you drink the right sorts of drinks to remain alert. Drinks high in caffeine content such as coffee, tea and coke will all help boost your tiredness levels. Energy drinks will also provide a similar effect.
Eat food – it’s dangerous to eat behind the wheel, but whilst you’re taking a break, consuming food is a sensible way to remain awake. Driving on an empty stomach is not advisable as emptiness can make you feel tired.
Avoid sugar – sugar causes several responses in your system which result in drowsiness – the faster the sugar was taken into your system, the stronger the effect.
Chew gum – chewing gum is one way of staying alert. Constantly chewing will prevent your jaw from yawning which is one of the mechanisms that can send you to sleep.
Reduce the temperature – turn on the air conditioning and keep the car slightly cooler than you’d like to prevent fatigue. Make sure the air vents are blowing onto your face, but don’t make the car too cold else it could affect your senses. Or, if you prefer to open a window this should create a similar affect.
Listen to music – put on your favourite songs and have a good sing-a-long, or if you’re not keen to perform un front of a packed car, get them to sing along for you, and make sure the songs are upbeat.
Perform small exercises – do small exercises from your seat whilst driving such as slowly moving your head from side to side, taking each foot off the pedal (when possible) and giving it a shake, taking deep breaths and gripping the steering wheel tightly will increase the adrenaline and blood pressure.
The survey of 1,747 drivers, including 146 from Scotland, was carried out online on July 13 and 14.