Liberty Insurance research reveals four in ten GAA fans don't get enough sleep before driving on a long journey

A significant number of drivers have experienced incidents when driving fatigued

Dublin, 23rd September 2014; In advance of the All-Ireland Hurling Replay this weekend research conducted by Liberty Insurance has revealed new insights into driver fatigue with some interesting findings for GAA fans that travel to games. The research, carried out by Millward Brown¹, revealed that a third of adults nationwide (34%) have admitted to driving after less than 5 hours sleep rising to four in ten (39%) GAA fans. The research was commissioned for Liberty Insurance's #DriveSafer campaign and encourages GAA fans and the wider population to take steps to avoid driver fatigue on long journeys.

Whilst 45% of drivers nationwide said they experienced an incident when driving fatigued, the number rose to 53% among GAA fans.

  • A quarter of GAA fans reported not remembering the last few kilometres they drove
  • 15% of GAA fans stated they missed an exit off the road
  • 12% stated they had a slower reaction time to hazards on the road


The research found that 6% of the general population admitted to nodding off at the wheel. Other adverse effects of driving when tired included: 34% feeling fidgety, 22% yawning persistently, 16% eyes not focusing well and 13% getting cramps in the legs.

Passengers tell a different story when driving with a fatigued driver where 19% of GAA fans observed a driver cross a lane they shouldn't have, and 17% (similar to the general population at 16%) observed a near miss when driving with a fatigued driver. In addition 14% of GAA fans stated they have observed a fatigued driver nodding off at the wheel in line with 15% of passengers nationwide.

The Liberty Insurance research also revealed that GAA fans that travel to games were most likely to have a number of approaches to help them to cope with long drives. The most popular coping tactics were opening car windows (43%), stopping for a break (35%) or to get a coffee (33%). One in four (25%) stated they stop and stretch their legs after a couple of hours, 13% of GAA fans reported allowing another driver to take over, and changing the volume of the music on the radio was reported by 11%. These tactics were mirrored by other drivers nationwide, but GAA fans were more likely to use multiple tactics on a journey.

Annette Ni Dhathlaoi, Head of Marketing, Liberty Insurance said; "Our research has revealed some interesting but alarming insights into driver fatigue. Devoted GAA fans spend a lot of time on the road supporting their teams throughout the Championships; as Safe Driving Partner to the GAA we want to enhance their enjoyment by ensuring they stay safe on their travels."

Former Kilkenny Hurler and five time All Ireland medal winner DJ Carey spoke of the research findings: "Addressing driver fatigue is important and one that all GAA players and supporters that travel to games should be very conscious of. I encourage everyone making the trip to Croke Park this weekend to get a good night's sleep, plan ahead, take a break when you need to and arrive safely for the throw-in."

Liberty Insurance is calling on GAA fans and indeed drivers nationwide to be aware of the risks posed by driving when fatigued. People can visit the Liberty Ireland Facebook page or Tweet using the hashtag #DriveSafer to share their tips. Liberty Insurance will also be providing advice to help GAA fans and drivers nationwide to avoid some of the incidents revealed in the research.

Some quick and helpful tips to #DriveSafer and avoid driver fatigue from Liberty Insurance;

  • Plan the route in advance and take note of rest areas where you can take a break, have a refreshment to stay hydrated and stretch your legs.
  • Make sure you're well rested and try to get a good night's sleep before your journey.
  • Avoid driving alone on long-distance trips. Passengers can both share in the driving and participate in conversation, which can help you stay focused.
  • Allow yourself ample time to reach your destination so you can take frequent breaks. Try to stop about every two hours, or every 150kms.
  • When you take a break make a point of getting out of the car and walking at least a short distance, where it is safe to do.
  • Driving for long periods at night makes fatigue much more likely. By avoiding travelling during these hours, you escape the glaring dashboard and road lights. That alone will help decrease your risk of motorway hypnosis.
  • Finally, if you're losing the battle against fatigue, stop and rest in a safe place.

Liberty Insurance will also have a booklet and video with tips on Preventing Driver Fatigue available for consumers through

For more information contact:

Ciara Cummins / Kate FitzGerald
Wilson Hartnell
01 6690030 / 086 3952329 (CC) / 086 3873083 (KF) /

Editor's Notes:


  1. Liberty Insurance / Millward Brown Tracking Research June 2014


Additional Research Findings:

  • 5% of GAA fans admitted to nodding off at the wheel.
  • 10% of GAA fans stated they had a late braking incident.
  • 9% of GAA fans crossed a lane they shouldn't have.
  • 6% of GAA fans stated they had a near miss and 2% stated they had a collision.
  • The youth segment was more likely to claim they had slow reaction times (16% compared to 9% nationwide) and had especially high levels of reported late breaking at three times the national average (24% compared to 8%).
  • Young families were the most likely not to employ any of the planning tactics at 26% versus the national average of 19%.
  • 20% of young families have observed a fatigued driver nodding off at the wheel.