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Platinum Jubilee safety warning: guard against fatigue on road journeys, warns GEM

Platinum Jubilee safety warning: guard against fatigue on road journeys, warns GEM

Drivers need to be properly rested before setting off on long road journeys over the coming Platinum Jubilee weekend, says breakdown and road safety organisation GEM Motoring Assist. The warning comes as thousands of families and groups look forward to half-term breaks and days out breaks that could involve road journeys of several hundred miles.

Being tired when you're driving raises the risk of a collision, because you're less aware of what’s happening around you. Your ability to react is impaired if a risky situation develops. That’s why fatigue can be a factor in up to 20% of all road collisions, and up to 25% of fatal and serious crashes, according to GEM.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth comments: “Many of us are looking forward to spending time with family and friends this weekend. But we’re keen to ensure that drivers understand the risks that can go with making a long road journey when you’re tired.

“A fatigue-related crash is around 50 per cent more likely to result in death or serious injury, simply because a driver who has fallen asleep at the wheel will be unable to reduce speed or change direction to avoid a collision. The consequences can be devastating.”

“Falling asleep at the wheel is easily avoided, but it’s vital you heed the many warning signs your body will give you before you actually nod off. These include finding it hard to concentrate, fidgeting, yawning constantly and rubbing your eyes frequently.

“When more serious levels of fatigue set in, you may find your thoughts constantly wandering away from driving, you may drift to the left or right, you may be slowing down without realising and you’ll suddenly find you cannot recall anything that happened in the past few minutes.

“At this stage your driving performance is seriously impaired, and it’s vital that you stop somewhere safe as soon as possible. A power nap and/or a caffeine-based drink can provide a short-term fix, but they should never be used as an acceptable substitute for proper rest. If you’re that tired, you must stop and rest properly.”

GEM offers a few simple tips for drivers to avoid reduce the risk of a fatigue-related collision over the Platinum Jubilee holiday:

Get a good night’s sleep before you drive a long journey.

Build in time to reach your destination (or your night-stop) without rushing. Remove time pressures wherever possible.

Avoid driving alone for long distances if possible. Share the driving and support each other by watching for any signs of fatigue.

On long journeys, take a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or 100 miles. Get out of the car, do some exercise, stretch or walk. If necessary, have a caffeine drink or two to boost your alertness.

Don’t press on into the night. Avoid driving at times when you would usually be asleep.

Follow GEM on Twitter @MotoringAssist for the latest industry news.

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