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Fuel card blog updates: Your highway health check

Visiting a motorway service station in the UK is one of those experiences we all try desperately to avoid.
We’ve all been there; you’re half way through a long journey when your stomach starts rumbling. You ignore it, determined not to be forced to stop for an overpriced sandwich filled with plastic meat and floppy lettuce, until your passenger announces that he needs to go to the little boys’ room and then you realise you need to go too, and suddenly it dawns on you that there’s no way of avoiding passing through those money-gobbling automatic doors.
 
 However, we were shocked to discover that one in seven UK drivers despise motorway service stations so much
that they do not take any breaks during a four-hour journey, increasing the risk of sleep-related accidents on motorways. According to a recent survey conducted by comparison site Confused.com, 32 per cent of motorists are steering clear of service stations.
 
The research was carried out by Newcastle University. Dr Joan Harvey, a Chartered Psychologist at the
University, advised long distance drivers to stop every 90 minutes.
 
She explained: “When driving on motorways or other monotonous roads, a motorist’s maximum concentration level is only maintained for 20-30 minutes. After this time, they will start to become bored and will drive on ‘auto pilot’.
 
“After a further 40 minutes of driving their blood sugar levels will drop. These two factors are a dangerous
combination as the motorists will start to feel sleepy and will be slower to react to any hazards that might occur.”
 
We accept that motorway service stations are never going to make it into the ‘top 100 places to visit before
you die’ however they provide an essential service, keeping motorists alert, and therefore alive, on long journeys. It’s like going to the doctor – no one wants to go but it is important for your continuing good health. Would you rather live with a horrible disease, or a broken leg? I thought not. And I’m sure you would rather spend half an hour in a service station than be involved in a car accident.
 
With one in five crashes on motorways being sleep-related, taking a break is not a matter of choice, it’s a matter of life and death, so make sure you get regular check-ups.
 
 

 
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