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74pc admit to driving when they are sleepy

The number of motorists driving when tired has soared in recent years.

As many as 74pc of drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel when feeling sleepy in the past year, a survey by road safety charity Brake and insurance company Direct Line found.

This is a huge rise on the figure for six years ago which showed that 46pc of motorists owned up to driving when tired.

Official advice says drivers on long journeys should take breaks every two hours, yet the Brake/Direct Line survey found that 73pc of the 800 drivers polled drove for three hours or more at a time.

The survey also showed that more motorists (70pc) drove with a window open to stave off sleep than took regular rest breaks (69pc).


Also, while 54pc had the radio on or listened to CDs to keep alert, only 21pc had a nap at a rest break.

Brake's campaigns officer Ellen Booth said: "It is terrifying how complacent drivers are about tiredness at the wheel.

"It only takes a couple of seconds of sleep to cause a fatal crash, yet millions of drivers are regularly getting behind the wheel while tired.

"Thinking that we can fight off sleep, especially using unproven methods like opening the window, is a mistake that could cost your life, or someone else's."

Edmund King, AA president, said: "Everyone feels tired from time to time. Drivers can mitigate some of the effects of fatigue by taking a break and drinking strong coffee."