Driving home after working night shift requires extra caution

Brian Joss – For many of us, the commute home is during dusk or as night falls, depending on the time of year. It is also (hopefully) a mentally stimulating day and having had a good sleep the previous night.

Yet, for those ending night shift, the drive home may have been after only a few hours sleep the day before and when they are probably feeling very tired after a shift.

The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says those who drive home after a night shift face a unique set of challenges. “They are vulnerable to both fatigued driving and driving with reduced visibility. Our internal body clocks mean we are much more likely to feel drowsy after a night shift than after day shift. Coupled with reduced visibility at night or dawn, driving home after night shift requires extra caution.”

 Follow these tips to help you arrive home safely: Ensure you take a nap the day before you start the night shift; when you sleep during the day, you still need to get seven to eight hours to function at your best that night; take measures to ensure your sleep is as restful as possible: sleep in a darkened room and put your phone on flight mode so you are not disrupted by calls; be cautious of how much coffee you drink during your shift. Caffeine is a stimulant but when it starts to wear off, your energy levels will crash as well; before driving home, use aids like music to stimulate you or maintain concentration Avoid overheating the interior of the car in winter.  If you are more exhausted at the end of a shift than usual, rather leave your car at work and call an Uber or friend to pick you up Find someone who lives in your area who can drive with you and who can help you stay alert. Do not rush in an attempt to get home faster, rather maintain safe speeds If you struggle with night blindness, visit your local optometrist to see if glasses can help. If you are blinded by oncoming lights use the lines on the roads to re-orientate yourself and keep your windows clean to reduce the effect of glare A recent study suggests driving home after night shift, is much more dangerous than people think. “It is impossible for certain industries to stop their night shifts; however, it is possible to play your role in ensuring your employees get home safely. Whether this is by organising transport home for employees or arranging shorter night shifts, it is our responsibility to ensure our employees make it safely home,” says Herbert.

CAPTION: Dozing: a hard day’s night. Picture: Fotolia/Motorpress

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