One in five New South Wales drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel, according to new research from GIO.

To make matters worse, these drivers tend to have a companion with them with one in five car passengers confirming their driver had momentarily fallen asleep at the wheel.

GIO is warning drivers not to drive tired this Easter weekend.

GIO spokesperson, Stephen Bell, said: “Easter is one of the busiest times of the year for road accidents and motor insurance claims. While many of us will be taking the opportunity to make the most of the long weekend, it’s important not to stretch yourself beyond your limits and keep road safety front of mind.”

The worst offenders were young drivers (aged 18 to 24) with almost a third (29 percent) admitting they had momentarily fallen asleep at the wheel, followed by 23 percent of drivers aged 25-49, and 15 percent of drivers over 50.

  • Only a quarter of drivers stop for a break at the recommended two hours.
  • More than a third (38% percent) push themselves past the 2.5 to 3.5 hour mark.
  • One in five (22 percent) drive more than four hours without stopping.

Mr Bell said the key for drivers is to plan ahead and make sure they are well rested before setting out on the road.

“About 60 per cent of drivers feel anxious about driving over the holiday period because they feel the roads are more dangerous. It’s every driver’s responsibility to make sure their senses are intact before heading out on the road.

“If you’re a passenger and you notice that your driver is tired, encourage them to take a break.”

Mr Bell urged parents in particular to be cautious this Easter, with two-thirds of drivers (61 percent) claiming their children had distracted them from concentrating on the road.

Common distractions include kicking the seat or interfering with the driver (80 percent), fighting with siblings (76 percent), playing noisily (73 percent) and loud personal music or video games (55 percent).

“Children on road trips will inevitably become restless so it’s important to plan ahead and schedule regular stops to stretch their legs and take a breather. It’s a good idea to also have some car-friendly games or activities to keep them occupied,” he said.