Facts about excessive sleepiness while driving

A tired driver takes a risk when getting behind the wheel. This recklessness may be a mortal danger to other motorists, passengers and the driver. Drivers have the legal duty to avoid falling asleep while driving.  Sleep generally does not come without warning. A motorist has to maintain vigilance against sleeping. In other words, a tired driver should pull off the road. Fatigue impairs reaction time, vigilance, attention and concentration.

Here are some facts:

  • Up to 20% of accidents on motorways and other monotonous types of road may be caused by fatigued drivers.
  • 18-30 year old males are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel when driving at night.
  • Change of lifestyles like early morning shifts, late night socialising often lead to excessive tiredness by interfering with adequate rest.
  • Natural sleepiness/tiredness occurs after eating a large meal.
  • Prescribed over the counter medication can cause sleepiness as a side effect. Always check before you drive.

All drivers are subject to the pressure of modern life, but many drivers are unaware that some medical conditions also cause excessive tiredness. These, alone or in combination with factors listed above may be sufficient to make driving unsafe.

Sleep related conditions can be effected by having sleep Apnoea, illnesses of the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease and narcolepsy may also cause excessive sleepiness or fatigue although sometimes these illnesses alone may cause drivers to be unfit for driving.

Tiredness or excessive sleepiness can be non-specific symptom of Parkinson’s disease, MS,MND or may also be related to prescribed medication.

The reality is if you feel tired behind the wheel then stop, and this is effecting your driving then visit your Doctor. Do not take any risks because the consequences can be mentally, financially immense or fatal.

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