Independent market research commissioned by Select Car Leasing through One Poll highlights almost a fifth of motorists in Britain’s second city said they’d driven in the past 12 months despite knowing they were far too sleepy to be safe on the road.
Meanwhile the research data also shows driving tired is a huge problem among the UK’s youth - with almost a third aged between 18-24 hitting the road when they should be in bed.
Other cities making up the ‘weary driving’ top five, according to a survey of 1,200 Brits, were Brighton, Southampton, Newcastle and Portsmouth.
Mark Tongue, Company Director of Select Car Leasing, said the figures were ‘alarming’.
He added: “Driving tired is, quite simply, deadly. Falling asleep at the wheel is one of the biggest causes of road accidents in the UK.
“Even nodding off for a couple of seconds can see you covering the length of two or three football pitches on a motorway.
“If you’re feeling sleepy, you need to be underneath a duvet, not in charge of a vehicle.”
Stats revealed last year by the AA Charitable Trust showed a quarter of all fatal accidents in the UK are caused by drivers who have fallen asleep at the wheel. And 18 per cent of survey respondents in Birmingham admitted they’d driven in the past 12 months when they were too tired to do so.
This figure was followed by Brighton (17.8%), Southampton (16.6%), Newcastle (16.4%), and Portsmouth (15.3%). While there was little difference by gender, the figure shot up to 27% for the 18-24 year old age group.
While there was little difference by gender, the figure shot up to 27% for the 18-24 year old age group. The study also showed 21% of motorists had ‘accidentally driven their vehicle over the middle divider line’ of the road in the last six months - with one in ten saying they’d done so because of bouts of ‘micro sleep’ or ‘drowsiness’.
The Highway Code recommends motorists take a break - of at least 15 minutes - every two hours.
But that guideline is also being ignored too - with 30% of UK motorists flouting the recommendations in the last year, according to this new research. Some cities are showing themselves to be worse at ignoring this ‘two hour’ rule than others, with HALF (50%) of respondents from Chelmsford and Worcester risking an accident through lack of rest.
Mr Tongue adds: “If you’re constantly yawning, your eyelids feel heavy, you're feeling mentally foggy or you’re becoming easily distracted, then chances are you’re seriously fatigued
“If that’s the case, you pose a lethal threat to other road users as well as yourself and all others in your car so you need to rest until you’re feeling more alert.”
There is currently no law in the UK which prohibits driving while tired, but the Government predicts that one in five accidents on motorways and on other monotonous roads could be caused by overly tired drivers.
You must also tell the DVLA if you feel very sleepy during the time you’d normally be awake because of a medical condition. You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving
There are also rules as set out by the EU which state that people should only drive for a maximum of nine hours per day in a working week and this can be increased to ten hours for up to 2 days a week. Rest periods of 45 minutes must also be taken every 4.5 hours and these can be split up into separate 15 and 30-minute breaks.
According to the survey, the best-behaved drivers reside in Leicester with just 5.66% of respondents admitting to driving when too tired to do so.
Mr Tongue says: “Modern technology may offer an aid to awareness of driving when tired, with many new cars featuring facial recognition software which monitors your facial movements and sounds alerts if the driver is distracted or becoming visibly tired.”