When do sleep-related road crashes occur?

When questioned by the police, drivers deny falling asleep for fear of prosecution and loss of insurance cover. Many also suffer 'traumatic amnesia', and cannot recall the collision.

Signs that an accident has been caused by a tired driver include

  • speeding and driving too close to the vehicle in front;
  • no evidence of braking before the accident;
  • no personal medical defects; and
  • the driver not seeing the impact point several seconds before the collision.

Crashes resulting from tiredness are most likely to happen:

  • on dull roads, usually early in the morning (between 4 am and 6 am, the 'early start to beat the rush') at times when your body clock signals sleep;
  • in the afternoon after eating, or having an alcoholic drink;
  • after sleeping less than normal;
  • after taking medicines that can cause drowsiness; and
  • after working long hours especially after a night shift.
Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.