There is no specific offence in law related to ‘falling asleep at the wheel’ but tiredness undoubtedly impairs judgement and reflexes and contributes to accidents. Recently there have been successful convictions of drivers who fell asleep at the wheel.
The safest option is to avoid driving when sleepy, you should:
- Ensure you are well rested, and feeling fit and healthy (and not taking medication which advises against using machinery).
- Take regular rest breaks (at least 15 minutes at least every two hours) and if necessary, plan an overnight stop.
- Avoid setting out on a long drive after having worked a full day.
- Avoid driving into the period when you would normally be falling asleep. Avoid driving after midnight (between 2am and 6am) .
- Drinking caffeine and taking a nap of around 15 minutes are the only measures that help to reduce sleepiness. But even these are temporary measures; you should avoid driving when tired.