Yes, we're part way through the summer holidays now but if you've yet to pack up your summer glad rags and head over to Europe for a break at the beach, then read on!
There are a huge number of us who get over to Europe and the end destination by driving over. It's really pretty easy with all the options of ferries and the channel tunnel that start very early and run regularly throughout the day.
If you're off on a family holiday getting there by car makes sense - not just because it means you have your own means of transport when you're at your holiday destination, which avoids having to hire a car, but it also means the overall cost of the holiday tends to be cheaper as you avoid those annoying air fares.
But aside from that constant "Are we there yet?" that your children might nag you with, one of the other downsides of driving abroad for your holiday is tiredness.
When you're travelling long distances, tiredness can be a big problem. The consequences of being drowsy can mean reduce alertness, attentiveness and delayed reaction times, which can result in your bran not functioning at an optimal to make the correct driving decisions. Coupled with unfamiliarity of being on the wrong side of the road and things really can become dangerous.
Research by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) states that 'driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road accidents, and up to one quarter of fatal and serious accidents', so the dangers are very real.
McCarthy Cars in Croydon have come up with a list of telltale signs you need to watch out for which will indicate that you're feeling tired.
You're finding it difficult to focus, you're blinking frequently, or your eyelids feel heavy.
You drift into another lane or into the oncoming lane of traffic.
You continually find yourself getting too close to the cars in front of you.
You find yourself continually yawning or you find it hard to keep your eyes open.
You find it hard to read road signs, miss them all together or drive past your exit.
You 'wake' with a start after you catch yourself having 'nodded off'.
You drift onto the “rumble strip” on the side of the road or onto the 'cats eyes' in the middle of the road.
These are all warning signs that you may not be as alert as you should be behind the wheel.
So how do you combat this fatigue and stay safe on the road?
The old adage of rolling down the window or turning up the radio can help a little in waking you up - but does it really make much of a difference in your levels of alertness? The effects aren't long lasting and you may find yourself slipping back again.
Also making a stop to get a cup of coffee is really only likely to offer very temporary respite from the effects of tiredness.
The only real solution to the problem is to either ask another passenger to take a turn at the driving (and have a nap while they're doing so), or stop for a power nap of around 20 minutes. Don't rush things - it's better to get to your final destination safely than have an accident.