Man 'drifting across lanes' on West Yorkshire motorway pulled over - so how much trouble can you get into for driving tired?

A man was pulled over on a West Yorkshire motorway after being spotted 'drifting across the lanes'.

Drifting: the driver appeared in court for drifting across lanes while tired
Drifting: the driver appeared in court for drifting across lanes while tired

When police spoke to him, he told officers he was 'tired and drowsy'.

The incident happened on the M62 westbound at Junction 29 and the vehicle was intercepted by police at Junction 23.

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The man was found to be wanted for failing to appear at court, and was promptly arrested.

But how much trouble can you get into for driving while tired, and is it specifically against the law?

The Legal Stance on Driving Tired

The law takes a dim view of drowsy driving, according to motoring website No Penalty Points.

"If you are caught driving while drowsy or you fall asleep at the wheel, you can be charged with careless or dangerous driving. If you are involved in a fatal accident, you can be charged with dangerous driving. This can result in a prison sentence of up to fourteen years."

Dealing with Tiredness on the Road

"If you feel tired or sleepy before you set off in the car, you should avoid beginning the journey in the first place. If this is not possible, you should drive slowly and carefully (under the maximum speed, but above the minimum speed limit if there is one in place). This will allow you to drive at a speed at which you can react to dangers and possible hazards if they occur.

"You should also plan several rest breaks to refresh your concentration. This is particularly important if your journey is going to be fairly long (for example, if you are travelling on the motorway), as it is easy to lose concentration due to the monotony.

"On a warm day, it is particularly easy to have your focus broken. Taking a ten minute break every quarter of an hour will go a long way towards helping you to stay focused and alert. As the advert says, “Tiredness kills”. Many road users are killed every year because drivers are too reluctant to stop en route."

Will having the window open keep me awake?

"Contrary to popular belief, having the window wide open will not improve your concentration levels and get rid of fatigue. Many people think that regular blasts of cool air will help them to stay alert, but this is rarely the case.

"Likewise, turning up the volume on the radio or CD player will do little to help your focus. In many cases, it can actually have the opposite effect, as certain beats can actually lull you into monotony and boredom."