Driver fatigue and road accidents – Minimise the risk of driving while tired

16th Sep 2020
Lisa Boyle

Driver fatigue and road accidents – Minimise the risk of driving while tired


All it takes is a split second for a tired driver to take their eyes off the road and cause a potentially lethal road accident.

The consequences of this can be devastating for all of those involved.

It can be difficult to assess on your own whether a driver who caused a road traffic accident, injuring either yourself or a loved one, was tired at the time they were driving.

Driving while fatigued or sleepy leads to impairment of driving performance by increasing reaction times and reducing attention, compromising decision-making and our ability to control the vehicle. It’s incredibly risky.

Here are some of the top tips recommended by Road Safety Scotland on minimising the risk of being tired while driving.


– Make sure you’re well rested and feeling fit and healthy (and not taking any medication that causes drowsiness).
– Take breaks at appropriate intervals (20 minutes every 1-2 hours).
– Don’t drive if you feel tired. Pull over, drink a coffee, and then take a nap while the caffeine kicks in.
– Always remember to stop in a safe place.
– Avoid driving when you’d normally be sleeping – between about midnight and 6am.
– Also be extra careful when driving between 2pm and 4pm (especially after you’ve eaten a meal).
– Be aware of long journeys on monotonous roads, like motorways.
– Plan your journey
– Allow sufficient time for journey and breaks.
– Schedule an overnight stop if the total journey is over 12 hours.
– Do not drive for more than 7.5 hours.
– Plan to take the train or bus instead if you know you’re likely to be tired (e.g. you’ve finished a long shift, or you’ve been out the night before).
– If you suffer from sleep apnoea with excessive sleepiness, you should not drive until your symptoms are under control.


If you notice that a driver seems sleepy or looks bleary-eyed when exchanging insurance details, be sure to report this to police or any witnesses at the scene.
Driving while fatigued is a form of negligence. Every driver should have an adequate level of mental alertness behind the wheel.


How do I start a claim?


Whenever you feel ready to start your claim, contact us for a free assessment. We understand it might be difficult to talk about the accident and our solicitors are highly trained when it comes to handling sensitive circumstances.