If you work the night shift at your job, you may not like the inconvenience of needing to sleep during the day and stay up at night. You may even have trouble getting enough sleep on this schedule. However, you may not realize that this shift could be dangerous to your health and increase your risk of getting into a car accident because you’re too drowsy to drive.
Why You Are More Likely to Cause an Accident on Your Way Home From the Night Shift
Staying awake at night goes against your natural circadian rhythm and could increase your risk of having a heart attack, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, and gaining weight. In addition, a recent small study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined the effect of shift workers’ fatigue on their driving after they left work. The study concluded that:
- Workers’ driving was significantly more dangerous after they left their late night shift.
- During a driving test, over a third of the workers would have gotten into a crash if the safety supervisor had not applied the emergency brake.
- If employees got a good eight hours of sleep before their night shift, they had almost no near-collision incidents.
Employees who have other risk factors for drowsy driving are even more likely to cause an accident when they commute home from work. Others at high risk include:
- Truck drivers
- Bus drivers
- People who have untreated sleep disorders
- People who take sleep medications
- Anyone who does not get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis
Signs You Are Too Tired to Drive
You need to understand the warning signs that you are too tired to drive so that you can take action before you cause an accident you could have prevented. You are not alert if you are doing any of the following:
- Drifting into another lane
- Missing your exit
- Driving on rumble strips on the side of the road
- Feeling yourself dozing
Unfortunately, drinking coffee, rolling down the windows, or blaring music will not keep you alert. You need to pull over at a safe location and take a 15 minute nap or have someone else drive.
Even if you are careful so you do not cause a car crash after your night shift, your non-subscriber employer may not be as safety conscious while you are at work. You could suffer an accident causing you to suffer long-term injuries like back injuries, spinal cord damage, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, and internal organ damage. However, you could be entitled to compensation from your employer. Call us at (817) 380-4888 to schedule a free consultation to learn about your legal options.