Sleepy drivers header

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for our health, emotional wellbeing, and even our safety. We all know that driving while under the influence is incredibly dangerous, but what about driving while tired?

Getting behind the wheel when you’re very tired can be just as dangerous as driving after drinking alcohol. In fact, after 18 hours awake, your driving is comparable to that of a person with a blood alcohol concentration of .05. At this blood alcohol concentration, you are likely to experience impaired coordination and judgement, lowered response times, and your vision may become blurry. 

Under UK law, if you are in an accident after falling asleep at the wheel, you can be charged with dangerous driving, and depending on the circumstances and the severity of the accident, you could face fines, penalty points, driving bans, and even prison time.

To see just how much of a problem sleepy driving is, we took a look at the official data from 2019 to find out which parts of the UK have the sleepiest drivers and just how prevalent fatigue-induced accidents are.

The UK Areas With The Sleepiest Drivers

These are the parts of the UK that saw the largest number of road accidents in 2019 caused by driver fatigue:

The UK Areas With The Sleepiest Drivers

The UK Regions with the Sleepiest Drivers

These regions saw the highest numbers of road accidents caused by driver fatigue in 2019:

The UK Regions with the Sleepiest Drivers

Total Accidents vs Accidents Caused by Fatigue

When we look at these road accidents as a percentage of total road accidents in 2019, we can see that some of the areas with lower numbers appear, showing that while they may have lower occurrences of accidents, a larger percentage of these accidents are caused by fatigue:

Total Accidents vs Accidents Caused by Fatigue
  1. Monmouthshire - 3.42% of accidents caused by fatigue
  2. Highland - 3.23% of accidents caused by fatigue
  3. Rutland - 3.06% of accidents caused by fatigue
  4. Perth & Kinross - 2.82% of accidents caused by fatigue
  5. West Berkshire - 2.74% of accidents caused by fatigue
  6. Ceredigion - 2.60% of accidents caused by fatigue
  7. Bracknell Forest - 2.60% of accidents caused by fatigue
  8. Moray - 2.54% of accidents caused by fatigue
  9. Scottish Borders - 2.50% of accidents caused by fatigue
  10. Neath & Port Talbot - 2.47% of accidents caused by fatigue

How to Avoid Driving Tired

In 2019 alone, 1,506 road accidents in Great Britain were caused by fatigue, but these can often be prevented by taking a few steps to ensure that your driving is never impaired by tiredness.

  • Take regular breaks during long drives. You should plan ahead to stop at specific service stations to ensure that you can stop safely when driving long distances.
  • Think about what you’re eating before setting off on journeys. Eating a heavy meal just before starting your drive is likely to make you feel more tired.
  • Don’t drive for more than eight hours in one day. If you need to drive a longer distance, you should plan for an overnight stay during your journey.
  • Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before long journeys. It may seem like an obvious tip, but there really is no replacement for good quality sleep!

The UK Areas for Accidents Caused by Tiredness - Top 50

The UK Areas for Accidents Caused by Tiredness - Top 50

Methodology:

All data is taken from the Department for Transport report, RAS50016: Reported accidents where a police officer attended the scene, by contributory factor, local authority and English region: Great Britain.