A SOMERSET man who passed out at the wheel and smashed into oncoming traffic had been fasting for Ramadan, a court heard.

Yeahur Rahman, 25, of Street, had not eaten or drank for more than 12 hours because of the holy month when he lost consciousness.

His Vauxhall Mokka veered into the path of a Volvo in Somerset on May 6.

Miraculously the Volvo driver, his wife and the defendant all escaped with just cuts and bruises - although Rahman was warned things could have been much worse.

Suzie Butler, prosecuting, said: "Rahman's vehicle drifted into oncoming traffic and drove on the wrong side of the road until it collided with the Volvo.

"The complainant tried to move all his wheels onto a grass verge but it was not enough and the defendant collided with his passenger door and his car went into a ditch and turned over onto its roof.

"The complainant had to be cut out of his vehicle and the defendant said he could not remember anything apart from passing out.

"He said he was on Ramadan and had not eaten for hours, which could have caused him to pass out.

"It is believed he did not take enough care of his wellbeing before setting off and therefore endangered other people's lives."

Rahman said he passed out due to a lack of water and dehydration and was also not able to take his hayfever tablets due to fasting, although said he felt normal to drive.

Neil Priest, defending, said the law stated that falling asleep at the wheel was driving carelessly because a driver had a duty to ensure they were fed and watered and ensure they were not drowsy.

He said: "On the other hand the fact that the defendant passed out at the wheel could have constituted a defence of automatism.

"However my client accepts that he had not really been fed and watered as he is a Muslim.

"It was the first day of Ramadan and he was ensuring he was strongly adhering to his religion in that he would not eat and drink until the relevant times of 9pm.

"He was very honest with the police when he said he had simply passed out and was dehydrated but this has never happened to him before.

"He is utterly remorseful and thanks god that nothing worse happened in this accident."

Rahman, of Somerton Road, Street, pleaded guilty to driving a vehicle without due care and attention and was banned for four months.

He was also fined £192 and ordered to pay £300 compensation to Mr Williams and £200 compensation to Mrs Williams at Somerset Magistrates' Court.

Chair Susan Hanson said: "I am sure you are aware how serious this was and you or the other people involved could have been killed."

No costs or victim surcharge were requested as the compensation was a priority.