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Does working the late shift increase car accident risks?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2021 | Car Accidents |

Driving to work is an unavoidable task for many California residents. A vehicle presents a reliable means of transportation, especially when working odd shifts. Catching a bus at 2 AM isn’t always possible, so driving becomes necessary based on a work shift. Drivers new to “odd” shifts may find their schedule increases potential road risks.

Working shifts and dealing with driving dangers

Driving while fatigued may increase the chances of an accident. Lacking sleep, a driver’s perceptions may weaken, and reaction time might slow. Not noticing a car stalled in the road until it is too late could result in a terrible collision. The “average driver” might not feel fatigued constantly, but someone working the graveyard shift could suffer from excessive fatigue.

Research conducted at the University of Missouri examined the effects of shift work sleep disorder (SWSD). The results revealed that drivers struggling with SWSD find themselves at a 300% increased risk for both crashes and near misses.

Near misses don’t necessarily mean someone isn’t injured, either. Whiplash or other harmful results could occur when a driver reacts to avoid a collision.

Negligence and shift work sleep disorder

Assumptions that SWSD-related driving performance isn’t “real” negligence may not be correct. Anyone who feels tired or fatigued might realize that driving in such a state comes with risks. Those willing to take to the road and accept the risks may put themselves and others in harm’s way. When such drivers cause motor vehicle accidents, they may face legal consequences.

A tired shift worker could tap an app and summon a rideshare driver. While hailing a rideshare vehicle comes with an added expense, the fatigued driver won’t chance an accident.