Mike Stevens | Oct 3, 2012

Men are more likely than women to fall victim to fatigue while driving, according to new research by insurer AAMI.

Surveying 3706 Australian motorists, the study found that 30 percent - nearly a third - of male respondents admitted to momentarily nodding off behind the wheel, compared to 14 percent of women.

The results also showed that men are more likely to try pushing on through fatigue, with 52 percent prepared to drive for three hours or more without a break, compared to 38 percent of women.

National road toll statistics show that fatigue was a factor in up to 30 percent of road fatalities in 2011.

"It’s tempting to just keep driving to get to your holiday spot sooner, but continuing your journey while experiencing the tell-tale yawning, oversteering and restlessness of fatigue is very risky,” AAMI spokesperson Reuben Aitchison said.

“If you nod off for just four seconds while travelling at 100km/h, you’ll cover the length of a footy field with your eyes closed.”

The results show that 39% of drivers have attempted to fight fatigue with loud music, passengers' company or caffeine drinks.

Tips for safe road trips:

  • Do not set off after a day of work. Get a good night’s sleep and leave in the morning.
  • Don’t drive at times when you would normally be asleep. (e.g. early hours of the morning or late at night)
  • Schedule regular rest breaks outside the vehicle. 10-15 minutes rest every two hours.
  • Share the driving where possible.
  • Allow extra time to get to your destination so you can take a power nap if needs be.

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