You've probably noticed signs on the Motorway which read "Tiredness Kills" and drivers falling asleep at the wheel is a big safety issue on the roads, especially this time of year when the mornings and evenings are dark and the heat is pumped up in your car or van.
The RSA Driver Fatigue campaign has been very successful and you may be familiar with the TV ad that features a driver fighting sleep at the wheel, while all around him are visual cues telling him to pull over and take a break. The message from this ad is to Stop, Sip and Sleep ie park in a safe place if feeling tired, grab a cup of coffee or caffeinated drink and then take a 15-minute nap.
There has been some confusion with this advice as the public have queried how taking in caffeine is going to help you get asleep and seems like it would make more sense to sleep first but the experts have recently cleared up the reason the steps are in this order: "If you feel tired when you are driving you should pull in somewhere safe. Then drink a coffee or a caffeinated energy drink before taking a 15-minute nap. The short nap will allow time for the caffeine to take effect - roughly 15 to 20 minutes - before you continue with your journey. This should give you another hour or so worth of driving. When you wake from your nap, you get the double benefit of the sleep and the caffeine as it starts to kick in. Don't sleep longer than 15 or 20 minutes as you might wake up feeling groggy" * Always keep a can of caffeinated soft drink in your car boot in case you are in an area where there is no shop around. * They did stress of course that this tactic is a short-term solution and in cases of extreme tiredness, brought on by sleep deprivation, the only cure for such a lack of sleep is sleep. * Don't be tempted to keep driving when you are tired just because you are close to your destination. Many tiredness-related collisions occur within a few minutes of the driver's destination because he or she has relaxed and the body takes this as a signal that it's alright to fall asleep. * Tactics such as opening the window or turning up the volume on the radio do not work and no amount of willpower will keep you awake either. * If you fight sleep at the wheel you'll end up drunk with tiredness, you'll start drifting in and out of consciousness and experience what are called 'micro-sleeps', which can last for up to 10 seconds and can take place with your eyes wide open - until you eventually fall asleep at the wheel. So remember if you are feeling tired behind the wheel, heed the advice of the experts: Stop. Sip. Sleep.