Night shift workers are at a considerable risk for drowsy driving

A new study reveals that drivers who work the night shift are at a considerable risk for drowsy driving.

In Pennsylvania, many drivers operate a vehicle in a sleep-deprived state and endanger the lives of others on a daily basis. However, some drivers, such as those who work long shifts or the night shift, are at a higher risk for drowsy driving than others. In a recent study, researchers found that those who work the night shift are more likely to drive drowsy and cause serious car accidents since staying awake at night goes against the body's natural circadian rhythm.

How the study was conducted

According to The Huffington Post, a team of researchers conducted daytime driving tests on a closed track and involved 16 night shift workers who had just completed a shift. During the test, 37.5 percent of the participants almost crashed 11 times, and the two-hour driving test even had to be ended two hours early for seven of the 16 participants due to concerns for their safety.

The drivers who participated did not experience problems with near-crashes until 45 minutes after the start of the test. However, the supervisors who were in the car with the participants could tell that within the first 15 minutes of the test, the workers were starting to exhibit some of the signs of drowsiness. For example, some of the drivers would drift into the other lane, have slow eye movements and shut their eyes for more than three seconds at a time.

In addition to testing the participants after they had completed a night of work, the researchers also tested the drivers after they had each received eight hours of sleep the night before and not gone into work. When they did this, none of the participants had trouble almost getting into a car accident and none of them had to end the test early.

Why is drowsy driving so dangerous?

Although many people suffer injuries in a car accident after another driver operates a vehicle in a sleep-deprived state, it is less well-known why drowsy driving is such a dangerous activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving is extremely risky because it slows drivers' reaction times and makes them less able to pay attention to the road in front of them. Additionally, driving without enough sleep impairs drivers' ability to make good decisions as they operate a vehicle.

Drivers who are injured in a Pennsylvania drowsy driving accident may have a hard time living a normal daily life from that point forward. Due to this, injured drivers should reach out to an attorney in their area to find out what they can do to protect their rights to fair and proper compensation.