New survey findings released by the Road Safety Authority show that almost two thirds of drivers attempt to fight tiredness through ineffective means such as opening windows, singing or talking to themselves and turning on the radio.
The findings come as the RSA, An Garda Síochána and Applegreen launched a campaign this Bank Holiday weekend aimed at highlighting the dangers of driver fatigue. On Friday 2nd August Applegreen will provide free cups of coffee to drivers between 2pm and 8pm at 17 participating service stations around the country.
Drivers simply mention the ‘RSA’ to the till operator and they will receive a free cup of coffee on Friday to ensure they get to their destination safely
International research suggests that driver fatigue could be a contributory factor in 1 in 5 driver deaths in Ireland*. Therefore, this silent killer could have been a contributory factor in almost 215 road deaths in the past 5 years.
Commenting ahead of the August Bank Holiday Weekend the Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar TD, urged road users to be extra vigilant. “Five people lost their lives over the June Bank Holiday weekend. We should all redouble our efforts to avoid a repeat this bank holiday. If you feel tired, then pull over and take a break. We are also asking drivers this weekend to watch out for changeable road conditions with the changing weather. Please enjoy the weekend, but do so safely,” he said.
Noel Brett, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority added: “To drivers we say; if you are fighting sleep at the wheel, stop immediately. If you can, drink a cup of coffee or caffeine drink but most importantly take a 15 to 20 minute nap. Following the nap stretch your legs and get some fresh air. By following this advice you should be able to drive for another hour or more.
“Unfortunately, this new research indicates that a third of drivers (31%) respond to feeling sleepy while driving by opening the window, 12.6% said they stretched their legs, 8% reported that they sign or talk to themselves or a passenger and 5% said they turned on the radio. None of these help in combating driver fatigue. In fact, these are the people who are most at risk of being involved in a driver fatigue related crash. Never drive if you are fighting sleep or you may never wake up.”
To prevent further loss of life this bank holiday period members of the Garda Traffic Corps will be out in force targeting all aspects of road traffic enforcement with particular emphasis on speeding, drink and drug driving, non wearing of seatbelts, mobile phones use and reckless driving.
More information on driver tiredness can be found in the RSA’s booklet ‘Driver Tiredness – The Facts’ and can be downloaded from the RSA website www.rsa.ie. A copy of the RSA’s research on driver fatigue can also be downloaded from www.rsa.ie.