When getting behind the wheel, it can’t be underestimated how important it is to be fully alert and focused. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that many drivers get behind the wheel whilst not fully rested and without a full night’s sleep. There are significant risks associated with driving tired, and this can lead to serious injuries and death. Allow us to explain the risks associated with driving tired, and provide advice on how you can ensure you are as alert as possible when getting behind the wheel.

Why is driving tired dangerous?

The recommended sleep amount according to the NHS is 7-9 hours, which will allow you to be properly alert and function at your best. Any less than this and your ability to complete daily tasks is reduced. Due to various distractions, many of us often don’t hit this recommended amount of sleep, and this can affect our ability to drive safely. Studies have indicated that a lack of sleep can have a similar affect on driving ability as alcohol. The longer you are awake, the more your ability to drive carefully reduces as your brain becomes less able to function properly. Sleep deprivation can affect:

  • Reaction time
  • Attention span
  • Judgement of distances and spaces
  • Decision making

All of the above can put you and other road users in danger, and lead to potentially fatal collisions, so it is essential that you are well rested when getting behind the wheel.

How can you stay alert whilst driving?

Following a few simple steps can allow you to remain focused if you are getting behind the wheel and avoid the risks associated with driving whilst sleep deprived. These include:

Getting enough sleep

First and foremost, it is essential to be alert whilst driving and the number one way to achieve this is by getting enough sleep. You should aim for the recommended 7-9 hours before driving, particularly if you are planning a long journey. It is much more difficult to maintain concentration for longer periods of time.

Regular breaks

If you are feeling the effects of a lack of sleep whilst driving, you should ensure you take a break immediately before you further lose focus. Stopping at a service station for a short nap or walk can allow you to regain this focus and drive safely.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine are consumed by many on a daily basis. However, both can make it more difficult to sleep and can also affect the quality of sleep you achieve. Avoiding energy drinks or alcohol can allow you to get the quality of rest you need to drive safely.

Healthy lifestyle

Living a healthy and active lifestyle can help to keep your energy levels stable. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help you to get good quality sleep and make sure you are awake and alert whilst driving.

Taking these steps can help you to ensure you are safe behind the wheel once you get on the road. If you want to make sure you are fully prepared for your driving test, get booked in with us at Lanes School of Driving. You can book either block lessons or an intensive course with us. To make an enquiry regarding lessons, call us now on 020 8166 5678 or email .