Motorists who are fatigued can face many risks similar to the dangers faced by drunk drivers. Driver fatigue can result in impaired judgment, a delay in reacting to objects or obstacles, and lane departures if motorists begin to doze. Getting enough rest is recommended to help prevent drowsy driving accidents in Atlanta. Unfortunately, some motorists who work night shifts cannot get rest at the normal time of the day when the body is primed to sleep. As a result, even seasoned night-shift workers can face an added risk of a drowsy driving crash.
When a motorist causes a collision due to fatigue, the driver who was too tired to be behind the wheel can be responsible for compensating collision victims for all losses they have experienced. Motorists, and especially night shift workers, need to be aware of the added dangers of drowsy driving collisions and need to ensure they are taking appropriate precautions to try to prevent collisions.
Night Shift Workers and the Risk of Atlanta Drowsy Driving Crashes
Sleep Review Magazine published research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital warning of the dangers of drowsy driving by night shift workers. The researchers conducted a comprehensive study of night shift workers, including those who had extensive experience in the field. The workers were asked to participate in a simulated driving course both after they had gotten a full night sleep and after they had worked for 7.6 hours the night prior to the test.
The test took place at the same time each day, with the only difference being whether a shift had been worked the night before or not. The driving ability of the motorists was measured in two-hour driving sessions to compare the ability of the motorists to drive safely both after the night of rest and after working their shifts.
The research showed that there was a dramatic difference in the performance of the night shift workers when they had gotten full sleep versus when they had worked. In fact, 37.5 percent of the participants in the research experienced a near-crash event when operating a vehicle in the driving test after working a shift the night before. More than a third of motorists who had worked the night before also had to do an emergency braking move at least one time over the course of the driving testing and close to half of the motorists had to terminate the test early when they’d worked the night before because they were not able to keep control of the cars.
A variety of different measures were used to measure how fatigued the drivers were, including recording when the motorist’s eyelids closed partially and recording micro-sleep episodes. Using these metrics, driver fatigue was evident within 15 minutes of the motorists beginning the test drive.
Drivers need to be aware that operating a vehicle after working a night shift can significantly reduce the risk of collisions occurring.
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