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Although precise figures vary from one report to another, it is clear that tiredness is one of the major factors that can cause a car accident. Three hundred people a year are killed in a car accident involving driver fatigue, and the Selby rail crash in 2001 is perhaps the first major example of a car accident involving a tired driver that will leap to a UK motorist's mind.

Key times for motoring to be affected by sleepiness are between midnight and 6am, and a 'slump' around 2pm. While it is always important to be aware of your own levels of fatigue, it is particularly so if you are driving around these times.

Drivers should also try to be aware of the tiredness levels of other motorists, as a car accident caused by tiredness need only have one sleepy driver involved. Warning signs that another driver is tiring to a dangerous level include weaving, drifting and sudden corrections of direction.

If you do find yourself becoming tired, the best advice is to find somewhere safe to stop, take a short nap, and then have a strong coffee (or other source of caffeine); even this may only be enough to get you through a further hour or two. Other methods of staying awake turning up the radio, winding down the windows, etc have very little effect, according to most studies, on the prevention of car accidents.

Avoiding tiredness before driving is, naturally, the ultimate aim; this tends to mean ensuring that you have had enough sleep the night before driving, that you stick to light meals just prior to driving, and that you avoid alcohol.

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