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Why taking regular breaks when driving could save your life

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In order to be able to drive in the safest manner possible, it's imperative that you are alert at all times when behind the wheel. If you start up your car in the morning after having had less than the optimum amount of sleep you'll be significantly more likely to cause an accident than if you were properly rested.

Fatigue plays havoc with the fundamental driving skills that you've honed over the years; your lack of focus will mean that you won't be able to read the road ahead as efficiently as you normally can, while your reaction times will be severely impaired, meaning that your usual ability to avoid potentially dangerous situations with quick thinking and lightning reflexes will have deserted you.

It's important to remember that driving while tired doesn't just mean that you personally are more likely to become injured while driving; you'll also be putting others in danger. It's particularly vital to get a good night's sleep before any long journeys that you undertake - and to stop regularly for a break from the road.

Pulling over and recharging your batteries with a walk around the service station car park or nipping into the cafe and treating yourself to a refreshing cup of coffee can make a world of difference to your concentration levels once you're back on the road. A good rule of thumb is to take at least a 15 minute break from driving for every two hours that you're on the road.

If you're feeling particularly tired while driving then pull over into a designated parking area or service station, recline your seat and take a nap. Don't be tempted to try and get by with half measures such as winding down the window to let in the cool air or playing music loudly on the car stereo - while these measures might feel like they're working in the short term, they're no substitute for proper rest.

Falling asleep at the wheel could have disastrous consequences, so don't be tempted to ‘power through' if you start to feel drowsy. Play it safe and get off the road until you feel suitably refreshed. It's just not worth the risk to carry on driving; if you're found to be at fault for an accident because of driving while fatigued then you could well see your car insurance premium jump the next time you come to renew your cover.

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