Dark nights increase driver fatigue, study finds

30 October 2019

With the clocks going back last weekend, Mercedes-Benz Vans has released new research showing that fatigue becomes a bigger risk factor for those working in the UK van industry during the darker autumn and winter months.

The Mercedes-Benz Barometer, which monitors the opinions of more than 2,000 people in the UK who work with vans, found that more than eight out 10 (83%) feel more tired during autumn and winter than they do in the summer.

As a result of the darker days, 40% of vans drivers said they suffered from fatigue and nearly half (48%) confessed to having nearly fallen asleep at the wheel.

The research also found that nearly one in three (30%) experience symptoms akin to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in winter. According to the NHS, some symptoms of SAD are a persistent low mood, feeling stressed or anxious, finding it difficult to concentrate and feeling lethargic among others.

Steve Bridge, Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Vans, said, “Although no-one should be afraid to drive during the darkness of a winters’ morning or evening, it is something that requires extra consideration before even setting out on the road.

“The hard-working van community is not immune from the impact of SAD or increased isolation during the winter months, so during this period of the clocks changing, we’re determined to raise awareness of just how tiring it can be on both physical and mental health this time of year.”