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Beware of those danger yawns! Vital message that could save lives.

Byline: By ANDREW HIRST Deputy News Editor

A YAWN might just save your life!

That's the message to drivers, who should regard a yawn as the first sign that they are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel.

Tragedies have been caused by people dozing off at the wheel, often on motorways.

Anew safety campaign is under way, urging drivers to take note of the simple yawn, the body's early warning system that they are getting too tired to keep on driving.

Research indicates that as many as one in five crashes on major roads are caused by tired drivers.

But only one in five motorists in Yorkshire always take a yawn as a sign to have a rest.

Insp Tim Dale, head of the motorway police in West Yorkshire, said: "Falling asleep at the wheel can have terrible consequences.

"People can get killed and motorists must think how they could live with their conscience if they caused a tragedy simply by ignoring the danger signs and falling asleep at the wheel.

"We have had incidents on the M62 where lorries have ploughed into the back of one another in the early hours of the morning for no apparent reason.

"It may be the drivers had simply dozed off."

The Government's road safety minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, said: "We all want to finish our journeys as quickly as possible, but being tired at the wheel is a proven killer we cannot ignore.

"Plan regular stops into a long trip and if you find yourself yawning pull over and take a break. It could make the difference between life and death."

Norfolk-based sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley said: "People read a yawn all wrong. They often mistake the energising effect that comes immediately after as a sign they can carry on. But tests prove this is not the case.

"Yawning quite simply means you're on the road to falling asleep. So if you're yawning behind the wheel it really is time to pull over."

The main advice is to plan journeys to have a 15-minute break every two hours.

The voice of the new Government campaign is actor Joseph Fiennes who will appear in a radio advert. Messages will also be put at service stations.

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SAFETY MESSAGE: West Yorkshire motorway police chief Insp Tim Dale and actor Joseph Fiennes
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 31, 2008
Words:390
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