Drivers are being warned to take extra measures to stay awake behind the wheel as the UK approaches the shortest day of the year.
Road safety experts from RoadAngel say there is increased risk of drivers falling asleep at the wheel as early mornings and late afternoons grow steadily darker.
Daylight hours are becoming progressively shorter in Britain as we approach the winter solstice on December 21st – when London will see just 7 hours 49 minutes of daylight.
Nodding off while driving is a serious road safety issue and experts claim thousands of accidents occur every year due to tiredness, including many fatalities.
Now the experts from RoadAngel are urging all drivers to ensure they are well rested before setting off on a journey, particularly if it means driving in darkness.
They want to start a conversation around the dangers of tired driving, especially during the winter months.
They are also advising motorists to plan their routes carefully and to take a comfort break if they feel fatigued while on the road.
A spokesman for RoadAngel said drivers should be vigilant for warning signs such as yawning and feeling the need to rub tired eyes when behind the wheel.
He said: “Falling asleep behind the wheel is a real danger and one which causes many accidents every year.
“Nodding off for just a couple of seconds could be enough to cause a serious accident, especially on one of our motorways.
“With the shortest day of the year approaching on December 21st it is a good time to start a conversation about the dangers of driving while tired.
“Getting behind the wheel after a poor night’s sleep is never a good idea but doing so in darkness is even more of a risk.
“We want all drivers to be aware of the risks of tired driving and to take measures to keep themselves and others safe on our roads this winter.
“This means make sure you get a good sleep before a journey and if you haven’t slept well then ask yourself if the journey is really necessary?
“If you are heading off to a meeting for example, could that be done on a video call rather than making the trip in person?
“We are also asking drivers to take a comfort break if they do find themselves feeling tired while driving.
“This could mean pulling over at the side of the road if it is safe to do so, or coming off the motorway at the next service station and having a coffee.
“As many travel long distances to see loved ones over the Christmas period, more drivers will be heading on the motorway.
“Having a simple cup of coffee before setting off can help provide some energy and planning the trip in advance to include several pit stops along the way will make the long journeys even easier.
“If you do find yourself starting to get tired on the road, make sure to pull over at a safe place and only set off again after getting some rest.
“It’s important to understand that tired motorists are more likely to struggle to stay awake while driving in darkness and with the nights getting longer it pays to be prepared for every journey.”