Avoid an unnecessary Road Traffic Accident



Stay Awake, Stay Safe: Combating Driver Fatigue on the Roads


Picture this: you’re driving down a familiar road after a long day at work, feeling the weight of exhaustion pulling at your eyelids. As your mind struggles to focus, you find yourself in a dangerous situation. Split-second decisions could be life-changing.

Driver fatigue is a hidden challenge that plagues our roads, contributing to a significant percentage of collisions, including fatal and serious ones.

At Attwaters Accidents, we understand the devastating impact of road traffic accidents caused by driver fatigue. Our hearts go out to those who have suffered due to this often-overlooked issue. We are here to offer our professional services, providing understanding and support to victims seeking to make successful employer liability claims , or any accident claims where the victim is not at fault, and obtain maximum compensation.


The Two Faces of Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue comes in two distinct forms, both can have disastrous consequences.

First, there’s drowsiness, resulting from a lack of necessary sleep. This can cause drivers to drop-off behind the wheel, leading to catastrophic accidents.

Shockingly, surveys have revealed that a significant number of professionals, including junior doctors, have experienced crashes or near-misses when driving home after night shifts due to sleep deprivation.

The second form of fatigue arises from repetitive tasks without breaks. Long-distance drivers, even if well-rested initially, can become fatigued due to the monotony of their journeys. This impairs their ability to respond appropriately to road events.


In both cases, our mental processing slows down, and decision-making becomes more emotional than rational, amplifying the risk of accidents.


The Causes of Drowsiness

Various factors contribute to driver drowsiness, making it crucial for employers and employees alike to be aware of potential risks.

These causes include:

  • Carbs-based meals
  • Circadian rhythm fluctuations, particularly between 2 am and 6 am, and 2 pm and 4 pm
  • Insufficient or poor-quality sleep
  • Sleep disorders
  • Drugs, medications, or alcohol

When a driver has been awake for 16 hours, or has worked for 12 hours, the risk of accidents significantly increases. Night shifts and early morning shifts disrupt the sleep-wake cycle, making it challenging for workers to obtain sufficient restorative sleep during the daytime.


The Weight of Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders are more common than one might think. A third of the UK adult population experiences insomnia at some point in their lives, while obesity increases the risk of sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnoea. According to the Royal Society for Public Health, 40% of adults are permanently sleep-deprived.

Studies have shown that losing just one hour of sleep per night can lead to decreased IQ levels, and driving one hour past a normal bedtime can impair reaction times as much as twice the legal alcohol limit.


Empowering Employers to Promote Safety

Employers have a crucial role to play in preventing driver fatigue and promoting road safety. Health and safety legislation places a duty of care on employers to ensure the safety of their employees and the public. This includes ensuring that drivers are fit to operate vehicles.

To combat fatigue, employers must carefully assess their drivers’ shift schedules, providing ample opportunities for rest between drives and allowing intermittent breaks.

Best practices include:

  • Mitigating fatigue through thoughtful shift patterns and lengths
  • Offering alternative commuting methods when fatigue is likely at the end of a shift
  • Educating drivers about the importance of 7-9 hours of quality sleep
  • Encouraging drivers to recognise the restorative power of breaks and caffeine, but emphasising they’re not substitutes for sufficient sleep
  • Allowing staff to refuse driving if they are too tired without any penalties
  • Minimising business mileage through remote meetings, clustered visits, and overnight accommodations
  • Additionally, drivers should be encouraged to prioritise their safety and pull over in a safe area if they feel drowsy.


Assistance from Attwaters Accidents

At Attwaters Accidents, we are dedicated to standing by the side of those who have suffered due to road traffic accidents caused by driver fatigue. We extend our professionalism, empathy, and support to victims seeking justice and compensation.

Together, let’s make the roads safer and strive for a future where driver fatigue is no longer a hidden challenge. Stay awake, stay safe, and know that we are here to help you on your journey to recovery and justice.

Attwaters Accidents is the Medical Negligence department of the trusted, long-established firm Attwaters Jameson Hill.