Over 12% of motorists report being involved in at least one near miss or collision as a result of suffering from fatigue while behind the wheel, according to recent research from AA Ireland.
In response to an AA Car Insurance survey of over 5,000 motorists, 10.94% of respondents stated that they had been involved in one or more near misses as a result of fatigue. More worryingly, 1.02% of those surveyed stated that fatigue had contributed directly to them being involved in one collision, with 0.3% of those surveyed reporting having been involved in multiple fatigue-caused collisions.
“During the winter season fatigue tends to become a bit more of a risk on Irish roads, particularly in relation to the commute home from work in the evening where the combination of reduced daylight and driver exhaustion can lead to temporary lapses of concentration when behind the wheel,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated. “Many motorists are conscious of the risk of fatigue when driving outside of their regular commuting patterns, but it’s equally important to remain vigilant on the journeys you take every day.”
“It’s also important to not think that fatigue only relates to physically falling asleep at the wheel, quite often these incidents involve a very brief lapse in concentration. Unfortunately, losing your focus for even a split-second while driving can represent a serious danger to yourself, other motorists, and particularly vulnerable road users such as cyclists or pedestrians, so it’s important to pull in somewhere safe and take a short break if you find yourself suffering from fatigue on your journey.
Of those who have been involved in a near miss or collision because of fatigue in the past, 29.93% of respondents stated that the incident took place between 17:00 and 21:00. In contrast, just 12.62% and 10.30% of fatigue-caused incidents occurred between 06:00 and 09:00 or between 00:00 and 06:00, hours which may be more traditionally associated with an increased risk of falling asleep while driving.
The survey also found that almost a third, 31.04%, of motorists who had been involved in a near miss or collision as a result of fatigue stated that the incident took place on a motorway, with a further 23.15% of such incidents occurring on a primary or main road with a speed limit of 100km/h.
“The important takeaway for motorists here is that fatigue can strike at any point of the day and in any location. Over the next few weeks, particularly as the summer season kicks off, many people may find themselves taking longer journeys by car and driving in routes they are less familiar with meaning it’s important to be aware of the risks of fatigue.” Faughnan added. “With a greater volume of traffic likely to be on the roads in the coming weeks the danger is magnified so if you do experience fatigue while driving take a break, get a coffee, ask a passenger to split the driving with you, but whatever you do don’t continue your journey thinking you might make it home before fatigue truly kicks in.”