News article

How electric cars can help prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue

GRIDSERVE has loaned three electric cars to Project EDWARD as part of a mission to improve road safety.

Project EDWARD, the global road safety initiative aiming for Every Day Without A Road Death, is embarking on a nationwide road trip to spread the message during a week of action to coincide with the UN Global Road Safety Week.

A GRIDSERVE BMW i4, Genesis GV60 and Polestar 2 will be used as the campaign team travels up and down the country.

One of the big focuses this year is on driver fatigue, which can be as dangerous as drink-driving.


“Just a few more miles”

Have you ever thought this as you feel the first hints of tiredness creeping in… maybe it’s just a yawn or a slow blink?

You’re not alone.

One in eight drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel while countless more will have rubbed their eyes, opened the window or turned the music volume up in a bid to push back the waves of fatigue.

The next time this happens, though, say to yourself: “It’s time to take a break.”

It’s estimated that up to 20% of all car crashes around the globe are down to driver fatigue and it’s on motorways and dual carriageways where sleep-related accidents are most common.

Close your eyes at 70mph and you could travel 200 metres without knowing it.

So how can electric cars help? In a number of ways actually.


Stop and charge

Many people (incorrectly) use the inability to complete long-distance road trips without stopping as an excuse for not making the switch to an EV.

However, how many people don’t stop for a loo break or a coffee anyway? And even if you are one who likes to plough on, it’s not really safe to do so.

The AA advises to take a break every two hours to stave off tiredness. On a motorway at 70mph that’s 140 miles – an ideal distance for an electric car considering the average range is now a little over 200 miles.

It means for both yourself and your battery, it’s the perfect time to stop to recharge – your EV via the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway and yourself through some caffeine or a power nap.


Although you might not think so, driving can be stressful.

The consistent hum of a petrol or diesel engine and the focus required for such a long period of time puts load on your mind (and body), which in turns accelerates the feelings of fatigue.

A study by DS Automobiles revealed that a third of EV owners found their electric cars less stressful than petrol or diesel equivalents. The silent and smooth ride helping to create a more relaxed environment.



Electric cars are at the cutting-edge of the car world, which means they’re fitted with the latest gadgets.

This includes technology that can keep you safe on the road, such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and blind spot monitoring. These assistance systems take the strain for you, easing the load on your brain and in turn reducing fatigue.

Electric cars also come with drowsiness monitoring and fatigue alerts. These will sense when you’re starting to show signs of tiredness even if you don’t notice them in yourself. An alert will tell you it’s time to pull over.


What are the laws about driving fatigue?

Proving that driver fatigue was the cause of a crash is not easy.

The lack of skid marks on the road, which indicate harsh braking, or on-board data from black boxes can give police an indication that the driver may have been asleep but it’s not guaranteed evidence unless there’s an eye witness account or the driver admits to it.

“Sleep-alyser” technology is being tested in Australia that could help identify those who are driving without enough sleep. The advanced blood test, which could be ready in five years, would show if a driver was sleep deprived – the similar way to if there was too much alcohol in the system.

For now, though, there’s no firm legislation in the UK for drowsy-driving. But if it’s proven a tired driver killed someone they could be charged with death by dangerous driving or death by careless driving. The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of 14 years.

The rules are stricter for professional drivers. Those who transport goods must maintain logbooks and record hours of work and rest, while many commercial fleets have data recorders installed on their vehicles, which can be used in the event of an accident.