Drivers are being warned to avoid falling asleep at the wheel as millions prepare for bank holiday getaways.
AA analysis of latest Government figures shows one in 33 casualties on roads in south-west England – which includes many popular holiday destinations – were victims of crashes in which fatigue was a contributory factor in 2021.
Statistics also show drivers are three times more likely to drift off and cause collisions on motorways than on other roads.
It commissioned a survey of more than 13,000 UK adults which suggested 12 million trips by road are planned for May Day alone.
The AA identified a series of likely traffic hotspots over the three-day break, including the M4/M5 interchange in Bristol, the M5/M6 interchange in Birmingham, the M62 in Leeds, the M4 near Newport and the A720 in Edinburgh.
Nick Powell, AA Patrol of the Year, said: “If you plan to travel long distances, it’s better to set off early when you’re more likely to be refreshed after a good night’s sleep and traffic is at its lightest.
“If you do feel tired, take a break at the next safe location, and have a coffee or caffeine drink, a short cat nap and a walk.”
Edmund King, AA Charitable Trust director, said: “A quarter of fatal crashes are sleep-related, so drowsiness is one of the most underestimated risks on the roads.
“If a driver has fallen asleep at the wheel they do not brake before an impact and make no attempt to steer away from a collision.”
Pressure on the roads this weekend will be increased due to disruption to train services caused by Network Rail carrying out more than 600 engineering projects.
The most significant impact is at London Euston, which will be closed on Sunday.
This will add several hours to many long-distance journeys.
– The AA survey was conducted by research company Yonder between April 5-19