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Driver fatigue

Raising awareness of the dangers of driver fatigue.

Fatigue is the physical and mental impairment brought on by the lack of sleep. You become at risk of nodding off while driving and therefore increase your risk of being involved in a crash. You should never fight sleep at the wheel. 


  • It is estimated that driver fatigue is a contributory factor in as many as one in five fatal crashes in Ireland every year. View our leaflet on Driver Fatigue The facts 
  • tiredness-related collisions are three times more likely to be fatal or result in a serious injury
  • 28% of motorists in Ireland say they have fallen asleep or nodded off, even if only for a moment when driving ( Driver Attitudes and Behaviour Survey 2020).
  • Among people who drive for work, this increases to 33% who say they have ever fallen asleep or nodded off, even if only for a moment when driving. 

International research shows that:

Studies have shown that the groups most at risk from driver fatigue are:

  • young men
  • people working night shifts
  • those who drive for a living such as commercial drivers
  • people with sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea.

Those suffering from sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea are at a higher risk of falling asleep while driving. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a disorder that affects 5-10% of the adult population and is the most common sleep disorder causing daytime sleepiness. Patients with OSA are up to seven times more likely to have a road traffic collision than the general population as a result of sleepiness. There are effective treatment programmes available for those who suffer from sleep apnoea so visit your GP if you think you do.

Sleep apnea

Watch John Dixon talk about his personal experience of sleep apnea.

Our research on driver fatigue shows an increase in people admitting to having fallen asleep while driving (28%)

Advice for tired drivers

  1. Stop. Park in a safe place.
  2. Sip. Drink a caffeine drink (150 mg of caffeine,  e.g. two cups of coffee)
  3. Sleep. Take a nap for 15 minutes (set your mobile phone alarm). It takes roughly 15 to 20 minutes for the caffeine to take effect.
  4. After your nap try and get some fresh air and stretch your legs for a few minutes.

By following the above advice you should be able to drive for another hour or so. Remember, if you are suffering from a chronic lack of sleep - the only cure is sleep.

Listen to our driver fatigue radio ad

Learn more

Professor Walter McNicholas 

Watch Professor Walter McNicholas of St Vincent’s Sleep Clinic explain what sleep apnea is and how it can affect your driving.

Driver Fatigue The Facts pdf | 914 KB

Bank holiday campaign

We teamed up with Applegreen to provide motorists with a free cup of coffee every bank holiday weekend to help fight fatigue behind the wheel.

All you have to do is say 'RSA' or 'driver reviver' at the checkout between 2pm and 8pm on the Friday and Monday of a bank holiday weekend. 

See a list of participating Applegreen Driver Reviver Sites.


Listen to our radio ad

Listen to our radio ad