Dangers of the Night Shift DriversAugust 6, 2013 | in Defensive Driving Tips
Unfortunately, the world does not stop at 10:00 PM. People still have emergencies, crime still happens, and factories still have to operate. What that means is that a lot of people have to work to be able to keep the world turning. In fact, the American Psychological Association (APA) reports that 15 million Americans work the night shift on a regular basis. When the sun touches the horizon, these people hit the road with very tired eyes, just hoping to be able to get home and climb into bed.
If you are one of the brave people working the night shift, you have undoubtedly experienced the fight of trying to stay awake as you drive home. Driving drowsy is very dangerous and, according to BMJ Group, makes you three times as likely to get in an accident versus workers driving home after the day shift.
Will I ever get used to it?
The APA has determined that there is a way to trick your circadian rhythm, but it is not easy. You have to be exposed to bright lights throughout your night shift, wear sunglasses on your way home, and sleep in a room with blackout curtains. After about a week you will have less fatigue after your night shift. The only catch is you have to do this every day for it to work. Yes, even on your days off.
What else can I do?
If you are not able to live this way, you do have another option. You can come up with ways to keep yourself awake while you drive. Keeping your mouth busy is one way to keep your brain alert. Eat, talk, sing, do whatever it takes to keep your mouth moving. Since the best way to drive defensively is to keep both hands on the wheel, gum chewing is a great alternative to eating. Still not awake? Try refreshing your face by wiping it down with a cool baby wipe or face-cleansing wipe. Turn down the temperature so you don’t get too comfortable. When all else fails, you can also consume 200 mg of caffeine 30 minutes before hitting the road. And please, if you feel too tired to drive, pull over somewhere safe and take a 15-minute nap to give your brain a reboot.
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