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I’m a nurse. I’ve recently started working the night shift and I am always tired. I’ve even drifted off on my way home. I’m really worried about causing a Milwaukee car crash. How can I be a safer driver?

You are right to be concerned. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 250,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel each day. These drivers are responsible for more than 100,000 car crashes a year, which result in about 40,000 injuries and 1,550 car accident fatalities. Shift workers are especially at risk for Wisconsin drowsy driving accidents. In fact, 95 percent of night shift nurses participating in a 1996 study were involved in an accident or near-accident on their way home from work.

Night-shift workers tend to get less sleep over 24 hours than day workers, and the sleep they get tends to be interrupted. Over time, the sleep deprivation adds up and the body tries to compensate with “micro sleep.” Micro sleep refers to episodes of sleep that last a few seconds. The sleeper may not even know the naps are happening, but even a few seconds is enough time to cause a serious Wisconsin car crash.

Drowsy driving car crash warning signs:

  • You can’t stop yawning
  • It’s hard to hold your head up
  • Your eyes close for just a moment
  • It is hard to keep your eyes focused
  • Your thoughts wander or seem disconnected
  • You have no memory of the last part of the drive
  • You miss your exit or turn
  • You slow down unintentionally
  • You drift over the center line

How can you be better rested?

  • Light affects the quality of sleep, so use block-out curtains, blinds, or even black plastic garbage bags to reduce the light level in your bedroom while you are sleeping.
  • Keep your room cool. Cool temperatures help the body get to sleep and stay asleep.
  • Use a white noise generator, fan, or earplugs to block household noises.
  • Unplug the phone and let friends and family know your work schedule so they don’t disturb your sleep.
  • Avoid smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant, so smokers are less likely to get restful sleep than non-smokers.
  • Avoid caffeine in the hours before sleeping.
  • Eat three meals a day, but avoid heavy meals before sleeping.
  • Avoid alcohol before sleeping. Alcohol may relax you at first, but it can prevent you from reaching a state of deep sleep.
  • If you need to, unwind before going to sleep.

If you are injured in a Milwaukee car accident, don’t assume it is your fault. Request a free copy of The Ultimate Guide For Automobile Accident Victims and learn how to protect your accident claim. To discuss your Wisconsin car crash claim with a Milwaukee car accident lawyer, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.