Individuals who work late at night have the highest risk of being involved in a drowsy driving car accident on their way home. This is partly due to a lack of sleep and the disruption of their sleep cycles necessary to stay awake for the night shift. This research comes about as the result of a project at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
During the study, researchers looked at the daytime performance for drivers who worked during the night as they completed their shift. In up to 37.5% of the drivers participating in this project had a near crash event after driving home from their shift. With a goodnight’s sleep, however, these same drivers had zero near crashes.
These findings indicate that there is a high level of risk for an increase in drowsiness and drowsy driving car accidents when using your motor vehicle during the day after a shift at night. 16 night shift workers were used to complete the study and they participated in two sets of 120 minute driving sessions on a closed driving track.
The sleepy participants in the study had higher rates of moving from their lane, an increased amount of slow eye movements and longer blink duration. Some were even associated with micro sleep episodes which means sleeping for less than three seconds. And theses increased dramatically for driving for more than 30 minutes.