GAA fans travelling to this weekend’s All-Ireland final replay are being urged to catch up on their sleep before making the journey.
The warning comes as new research from Liberty Insurance shows that 40pc of GAA fans have admitted to driving on less than five hours sleep the night before a big match.
The research, conducted by Millward Brown, revealed that a third (34pc) of all adults have been driving after less than five hours sleep.
This figure rises to 39pc when it came to GAA fans.
The research was commissioned for Liberty Insurance’s #DriveSafer campaign and encourages GAA fans and the wider population to take steps to avoid driver fatigue on long journeys.
Whilst 45pc of drivers nationwide said they experienced an incident when driving fatigued, the number rose to 53pc among GAA fans.
• A quarter of GAA fans reported not remembering the last few kilometres they drove
• 15pc of GAA fans stated they missed an exit off the road
• 12pc stated they had a slower reaction time to hazards on the road
The research found that 6pc of the general population admitted to nodding off at the wheel.
Other adverse effects of driving when tired included: 34pc feeling fidgety, 22pc yawning persistently, 16pc eyes not focusing well and 13pc getting cramps in the legs.
Passengers tell a different story when driving with a fatigued driver where 19pc of GAA fans observed a driver cross a lane they shouldn’t have, and 17pc (similar to the general population at 16pc) observed a near miss when driving with a fatigued driver.
In addition 14pc of GAA fans stated they have observed a fatigued driver nodding off at the wheel in line with 15pc of passengers nationwide
The Liberty Insurance research also revealed that GAA fans that travel to games were most likely to have a number of approaches to help them to cope with long drives.
The most popular coping tactics were opening car windows (43pc), stopping for a break (35pc) or to get a coffee (33pc). One in four (25pc) stated they stop and stretch their legs after a couple of hours, 13pc of GAA fans reported allowing another driver to take over, and changing the volume of the music on the radio was reported by 11pc.
These tactics were mirrored by other drivers nationwide, but GAA fans were more likely to use multiple tactics on a journey.
“Our research has revealed some interesting but alarming insights into driver fatigue. Devoted GAA fans spend a lot of time on the road supporting their teams throughout the Championships; as Safe Driving Partner to the GAA we want to enhance their enjoyment by ensuring they stay safe on their travels,” said Annette Ni Dhathlaoi, Head of Marketing with Liberty Insurance,
Former Kilkenny Hurler and five time All Ireland medal winner DJ Carey spoke of the research findings: "Addressing driver fatigue is important and one that all GAA players and supporters that travel to games should be very conscious of. I encourage everyone making the trip to Croke Park this weekend to get a good night’s sleep, plan ahead, take a break when you need to and arrive safely for the throw-in."