A recent survey has revealed that 92% of visitors are happy with the motorway service stations they visit in the UK. Undoubtedly, the range of food and drink available at most has improved drastically in recent years, but far more importantly, motorway services can help prevent accidents and serious injuries. Taking a regular break during a long drive is vital and helps prevent accidents.
Drivers who become drowsy or fall asleep at the wheel cause thousands of crashes each year. This is one of the most common causes of serious road crashes and casualties. It is often more likely to result in death or serious injury, as the incidents tend to happen on high speed roads.
A sleeping driver cannot brake or swerve to avoid or reduce the impact. Tiredness reduces a driver’s ability to recognise hazards. It also slows their reaction times and impairs their judgement. This combination of factors can be lethal, as a driver will only spot a hazard at the last minute (if at all) and may not have time to brake.
Tiredness also reduces vigilance, alertness and concentration. The speed and quality of decision-making may also be affected. Drivers are almost always aware when they are feeling sleepy, so make a conscious decision about whether to continue driving or to stop for a rest.
Work commitments or the desire to get home as early as possible can tempt drivers, or make them feel pressured to continue driving when they really should stop.
Crashes caused by tiredness are most likely to happen:
- On long, monotonous journeys
- In the middle of the night
- After lunch (particularly if you’ve had a heavy lunch or even just one alcoholic drink)
- A bad night’s sleep
- After drinking alcohol
- After taking medicines that cause drowsiness
- At the end of a long working day or a night shift
If you manage people who drive for work, you must ensure that your drivers are not at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. So make sure you encourage your drivers to visit one of the highly rated Motorway service stations.
A number of RoSPA’s training solutions cover this vital topic:
- Driver Theory Workshop – an ideal opportunity for employers to ensure that all those who drive for work purposes understand the principles of defensive driving
- Driver Development – the perfect way to ensure your drivers undergo continuous professional development
- Driver Behaviour – Gives fleet managers a better understanding of the pressures and concerns of their drivers
- Collision Investigation – Learn from collisions that your drivers have experienced, with a view to reducing the risk of them happening again.
RoSPA Fleet Safety are working to reduce occupational road risk using innovative, behaviour-based solutions. Our goal is to be the global leader in driver and fleet safety.