Only a matter of time!
From the "Westmorland Gazette" 28/09/07
Foxfield crash driver "nodded off at wheel"
A father of 2 attempting to do the Three Peaks Challenge dozed off at the wheel and crashed into a motorist at Foxfield, Preston Crown Court heard.
The court was told that 32 year old **** ******** had successfully done two of the peaks- Ben Nevis in Scotland and Scafell (sic) in Cumbria - and was heading for Wales to tackle Snowdon when the accident happened on the A595 at Foxfield near Broughton-in-Furness, after he nodded off. The idea of the challenge was to complete the three highest mountains in Britain(sic) in under 24 hours.
The report goes on to mention he and his friend were injured in the collision and also describes the continuing injuries of the motorist he crashed in to on June 15 2006.
He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and awaits sentencing by Preston Crown Court.
I have to admit I am surprised this sort of thing hasn't happened before.
A local resident minding their own business has been injured. The father of a 2 y.o. and 3m.o. and his friend also injured. All three could quite easilly have been killed.
If it had happened on one of the faster stretches of road on the A595 I am certain there would have been at least one fatality.
Is the 3 Peaks Challenge really worth that?
To pre-empt the fund rasing argument, refer to the other posts regarding the chaos caused by those in Wasdale.
I am in total agreement with you Mr Rubberfeet sir
I have completed the Three Peaks challenge twice and on the second occasion, stepped back and looked at what was going on in Wasdale. It was at that point I vowed never to do anything like it again.
I am shocked that still people compete and drive, our drivers were an important part of the teams and their job was to drive not to take part in the ascents. Between driving they rested that was their job. Both events were organised by Wiltshire Fire Brigade so rules were strict as well.
There will always be those who believe they can do both and the lucky ones get away with it. But on the face of it, it is a tough challenge and shouldn't be entered in to lightly.
If anyone reading this is considering doing The Three Peaks, please have a designated driver who rests while you climb. It makes sense.
I have to cover thousands of miles a year ,working away . Driving to site on a monday is ok but driving back after a hard week is a nightmare . I can only cope with a two hour stint ,after that i struggle and if the only driver need to stop and rest a while , if there are more drivers we have to change .
Some think they can drive all day without it taking its toll. I think they are mis-guided.
Walking as the same effect, Its tough to do long distances after a day out on the hills ,even after driving home from the relitivly close Lakes I have had enough by the time I get home.
A sad story indeed.
I remember 'Top Gear' ran a test on a speedway and then urban test area for alcohol versus tiredness. Drivers stay awake more readily in urban environments, where of course those intoxicated will still bump into things; on a motorway it is a different kettle of fish, with tiredness being a real killer.
It is particularly bad in the Winter months when making treks to the hill. I once nearly nodded off in stationary traffic on the M4 just outside Bath after trying to do a 'there and back' trip to Brecon. After that I upgraded the tent (in winter months YHAs put out the lights) with a view to travelling up the evening before, camping and driving back the next day. I also take a break off the M4 on the A46 where a pub there (Coach and Horses?) does excellent coffee. It is basically knowing one's limits, simple as that.
Getting a car has been brilliant for me to get out to the hills, but I would love to try and get into public transport more often than I do. It is just that Brecon isn't very accessible out of season for such short weekend trips. More than that it costs £46 just to get to Abergavenny by train from Reading! That having been said, the diesel costs still add up, and of course you don't have to drive the train yourself. I must really try a test run of Brecon by public transport out of season.
Martin, National Express coach Reading to Cardiff, then local bus (Sixty Sixty is the bus company) Cardiff to Brecon (2 hrs). The only problem is that you're in Brecon and the Beacons NP is a one hour walk away.
The local bus does stop a Llwyn y Celyn (sp?) YHA. From there it's only a ten minute walk to top of Pen y Fan.
I think David Cameron has an uphill challenge of his own before he's allowed to start sending 'hoodies' on compulsory climbing jaunts.....
But still very much within the spirit of Kurt Hahn with regard to experiencial education for teenagers to develop their whole 'being'.
"Expeditions can greatly contribute towards building strength of character. Joseph Conrad in Lord Jim tells us that it is necessary for a youth to experience events which 'reveal the inner worth of the man; the edge of his temper; the fibre of his stuff; the quality of his resistance; the secret truth of his pretences, not only to himself but others.'"
I always used to worry about driving home after night shifts in A&E when I lived in Cornwall.
I did not have a choice, there was no bus service to where I lived and there was no where for me to sleep at work.
I never felt I was safe. I often could not remember the drive. I once got home and tried to open the back door with the remote key fob for my car. I remember standing there unable to figure out why the back door was not unlocking its self.
I do think legislation should be put in place that night shifs should only be worked where neccesary. For example it it necesary to have supermarkets open at 5am.
I also think that employers should be looking at providing transport home for staff after night shifts or providing somewhere for staff to sleepat work.
WE have to cover A&E and other such essential services at night. I always used to try and have a sleep during the day before the first night shift but never managed to nodd off. After the first night the rest were better because I had slept during the day but I do think this is a problem.
Working time regulations - clearly define what a night worker is. They also define the maximum range of hours and when they can be worked. The difficulty is that many people just regard it as european clap-trap breaking down the moral fibre of what has made this country great - etc etc etc, blah blah.
Despite the fact that WTR is not optional, it is 'the law' - with some exemptions (and those are defined).
A friend who was expounding of the law and how things are getting messy recently said (on the subject of WTR):
"How dare they tell us when and for how long we can work, I mean nobody stops someone from finishing work in the morning and then climbing a mountain, thats their own business, so why should we apply it in the work place"
I think I shall print this sad article and poke it under his nose....
It is not just distances travelled and activities undertaken that can cause driver inattention and fatigue.Time of day and time of year also take their toll.
In my job we have been involved in much research into such effects, especially since the introduction of 12 hours shifts for Ambulance staff. Despite resting during the day, it is really not natural for humans to be awake during hours of darkness, so the problem is escalated during the hours of darkness, and particularly evident during the winter months.
There is evidence too that drivers who have undergone advanced driving instructions are less likely to feel tired at the wheel, as are those who drive as a profession. It has something to do with levels of concentration on driving detail.
I know that in 37 years driving, I can honestly say that I have never experienced tiredness at the wheel, no matter what I have been doing leading to the drive, but try holding a “normal” conversation with me when I am driving. I am concentrating on the road so much that I cannot hold a “normal” conversation.
The research indicates that it is not so much tiredness that causes the problem, but inattention to detail during these bouts of driver fatigue that people not used to driving under such conditions suffer.
So, don’t just “employ” a separate driver, ensure that they are used to driving under such conditions too and are either advanced driver trained, or drive regularly in a professional capacity.
sixty sixty also calls at Tal Y Bont on Usk, Crickhowell and Abergavenny.
BTW wouldn't it be better to change at Newport for AberG and catch your bus there?
Surely if all it took to stop people being tired whilst driving was advanced driver training then this would be made compulsary to all and then incidents would never occour. It is not the case though is it , I find it very hard to accept that anyone can undertake an ardous week or day working ,walking climbing or whatever and then get into a car and drive 5,6,or more hours without feely tired and effecting that persons ability to drive safely. Thats why I stop and rest or another takes over the driving duties , for the safety of ourselves and other road users.
Whilst i have no advanced training, I think I,m fairly aware on the road , I look into the distance , I try to antcipate other road users actions , I keep a good distance from vehicles in front of me , I use my mirrors ,I indicate, above all I "think"; but still I feel tired after a couple of hours on the homeward journey . It is surely at least in part to do with the effects of what I have been doing before getting behind the wheel. I cannot see how advanced driver training can prevent a person from becoming tired.
Incidently it is not uncommon for us to have to work 84 hour weeks especially when abroad. This despite the EU rules . We have all signed the opt out. We can opt in at any point but whats the point . If you are away from home working you might as well be working than sat in a bar getting wasted.
It is not to say that advanced driver training makes people less tired at the wheel jonno, just that research has indicated that such drivers (and people who drive professionally) are concentrating more on their driving rather than drifting off their target and therefore losing concentration and succumbing to fatigue.
If there were no substance to this, then there would be many more cases of people having such accidents when in fact, they are relatively rare.
It is people who do not drive regularly in such circumstances who are more at risk.
I worked my fair share of awkward shifts over a 30 year period, every thing from 16:30 to 06:30, many of them 7 night weeks. I worked them because they paid extra allowances and these paid the Mortage. and yes there was many a time I got home and collapsed in the chair and will freely admit that some times I should not have driven home but there was no public transport and the boss if he allowed you transport regarded it as a favour that he wanted returned i.e come in early or stop on later. It was not funny walking home at three in the morning along roads with no lights or pavments after a ten hour shift in a howling gale and I hope others can avoid those sort of shifts.
Lam Snave, because you'd have to get a local bus from Newport to Aber-G then pick up the 60 60 there for Becon.
Anyway, by sheer coincidence, talking of buses in Wales - The Welsh Tourist Board sent me a Bus, Rail and Tourist Map and Guide, 2007/8. And it arrived today.
Half the size of an OS map with map of Wales on one side showing all local bus routes. Other side has frequency of service and the route operator so you can look at their website to get the full timetable. Just what I wanted as a non car-owner.
Fundraising - you don't need to go on an organised thing like the Three Peaks to raise funds - any keen walker will do plenty of walks suitable for getting sponsors for charity fund raising, as I did on LEJOG and many other walks of a week long or more.
Public transport - I'm using it more and more and can relax and enjoy the scenery. You don't have to return to the car but can return from a different point. To give yourself extra days holiday use the sleeper to and from Scotland - a pity there is no sleeper to Cornwall too. Postbuses are also useful where there are no other buses. In winter there is no returning to a frozen car that has to be de-iced......not to mention being environmetally friendly to use public transport......and perhaps help to keep a rural bus service running.
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