As much as 25 per cent of all fatal car accidents occur as a result of drivers falling asleep at the wheel, with tired motorists the cause of 53 deaths on the road and 351 serious crashes in 2017.
AA Charitable Trust revealed this sobering data ahead of a nationwide campaign to remind drivers of the importance of taking a rest if they feel drowsy.
Its road casualty statistics also showed that 13 per cent of UK drivers have fallen asleep on the road before, while 37 per cent have been so tired they thought they would nod off while behind the wheel.
Edmund King, director of AA Charitable Trust, said: “Crashes involving a drowsy driver tend to be catastrophic. If a driver has fallen asleep at the wheel, they do not brake before an impact and make no attempt to steer away from a collision.”
He reminded motorists that someone using the motorway could travel the length of a football pitch by falling asleep for three or four seconds, while as far as half a mile could be covered during a mere 30-second nap.
Men are particularly at risk on the road, being three times more likely to fall asleep than women. Moreover, young people aged between 18 and 24 tend to be more reckless, with 18 per cent saying they would carry on driving even if they were tired, compared with three per cent of all drivers.
Long journeys are especially risky, with 27 per cent of drivers admitting that travelling too far in one day is the reason they get tired.
It is also important to make sure your car is in top condition before trying to cover a lot of distance. That is why it is a good idea to look into car servicing in Hillingdon before you get behind the wheel as well as making sure you are well-rested, as this will give you a better chance of having a safer journey.