A shocking one in six British drivers says that they have fallen asleep at the wheel, according to new research.

Dash cam firm SmartWitness surveyed 1,000 UK drivers and found that 17 percent have nodded off while driving, while a further four in 10 (42 percent) admit to having driven while drowsy.

Almost half of those quizzed (47 percent) confessed to having posed a danger to themselves or other road users as a result of driving tired at some point since passing their tests.

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The majority of those who drive while tired (89 percent) say they do so for work reasons or to fit in with their home life.

Just 48 percent of all those surveyed said they always stop and take a break when they are feeling tired.

Many of those who continue to drive when drowsiness kicks in attempt to combat the problem with simple tricks such as opening the window – a measure employed by 48 percent of drivers – or drinking coffee, which is the favoured tactic for 37 percent of motorists.

SmartWitness chief executive Paul Singh said: ‘Driver fatigue is one of the biggest killers on our roads and we need to be doing far more to raise awareness of this major threat to road safety.

‘Increased pressure on delivery schedules due to the internet has put more pressure on drivers to carrying on driving when drowsy and at risk of nodding off. This is as dangerous to other road users as drink driving or talking on your mobile phone.

‘It is vital that employers recognise this problem and implement new technology to spot when their staff are too tired to drive, and alerts for the drivers so that they know themselves.’