Got into a car accident after working a night shift - page 3
My worse fear has come true. I recently got into a car accident after working a night shift. Thank God, the accident only involved myself, and I did not get hurt. However, it has really shaken me up... Read More
Jan 28, '13Occupation: RN- Charge nurse, bedside nurse Specialty: 15 year(s) of experience in Med/Surg,Orthopedics, LTC ; From: US ; Joined: Nov '05; Posts: 85; Likes: 138I've worked nights for 13 years. In the past I have pulled over someplace safe and napped. My strategy for my 35 minute drive now is chewing ice. My co workers wondered why before I leave, I fill a large cup with ice and I had to explain that all that crunching keeps me awake plus it's cold!
Jan 28, '13Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 1,221; Likes: 2,000If I get sleepy I pull over for a nap, run around my car twice for a boost.
I have just started taking a caffeine tablet about 530 or 6 and it gives me enough boost to make the 45min drive home.
Riding with windows down doesn't work for me but listening to upbeat music or talk comedy does.
Jan 28, '13Occupation: RN Specialty: 16 year(s) of experience in LTC Rehab Med/Surg ; From: US ; Joined: Dec '09; Posts: 2,903; Likes: 9,240The adrenaline rush I get when I nod off and wake up riding in the emergency lane works for a good 10 minutes.
Jan 28, '13Joined: Feb '04; Posts: 741; Likes: 878Thats why I dont do nights. I havent worked nights in 3 years, and I picked up an extra shift to help with coverage a couple months back in the summer. I have an hour highway comute. I was so tired, I didnt realize I was speeding- I dont tend to speed too much- going 80 (limit 65) untill I looked at my spedomoter and saw and was like oh crap gotta slow down--too late, light in my rearview mirror. I didnt dare say I was tired from night shift and get a DUI. Because remember you ARE impared at that point. I would also recomend eating a snack like pretzles and sipping on something because it gives you something to do. Sometimes you HAVE to pullover and nap. Usually a 30 minute nap will be all you will need to get the rest of the way home safely. But yes its scary that feeling of you "snapping out of it" and realizing you probably, although briefly did just fall asleep.
Jan 28, '13Joined: Aug '09; Posts: 4,689; Likes: 8,666Quote from Hygiene QueenYes, that is exactly what he was telling me.I think the trucker meant that if you want to hang on to your money, you'll stay good and awake.
Jan 28, '13Occupation: L&D RN Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in L&D ; From: US ; Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 101; Likes: 27-Take small sips of ice water on the road
-Pull over and take a 20 minute power nap
-Call a friend or relative
-If you get at least a 30 minute break at work, set a timer and try to sleep for twenty minutes or so. I know this will not work or be possible for many people, but I found when I was working nights if I was able to sleep for twenty minutes on my break it made a big difference for my morning commute home.
Jan 28, '13Occupation: Mother-Baby RN From: US ; Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 79; Likes: 104I love nights but if I ever got into a car accident because of it, I would stop nights in a heartbeat. However, it's never good to leave a job without having another one. Drink a coffee 2 hours before your shift is over to stay awake on the road. Make it a small coffee and do other things to help you fall asleep at home. I personally, when am having a hard time falling asleep, take a hot shower, take some Benadryl, make sure my room is dark, and play some white noise.
Jan 28, '13Joined: Jul '07; Posts: 2,251; Likes: 8,239Quote from StudentEtc.Ah the Causeway. I know it well. Back and forth from Covington to Metairie a billion times it seems!I used to work evenings awhile ago, and my route home includes a 24-mile bridge over a lake (the entire way!), so road awareness was the number one priority.
Jan 29, '13Occupation: RN-Wound Care Specialty: Med/Surg and Wound Care, PACU ; Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 72; Likes: 36what always helped me is chewing gum , or eating small things like nuts , berries ,
Jan 29, '13Joined: Jan '07; Posts: 202; Likes: 257I worked nights for over 20 years. You have a legitimate concern. Nights was my preferred shift, but there were still times when I left work praying I'd make it home in one piece, I was so tired. It really is scary driving home when your body has not yet adjusted to your change in sleep patterns. Are you getting enough sleep after you get home? Would it help if you lay down for an hour before getting ready for work? Could you take a short nap at work while you are on break? I never could, but some nurses would go to a quiet spot and set an alarm for 20-30 minutes. Just closed their eyes and put their feet up.
If I were tired, I would splash my face with cold water before I left work. I also always had a snack and a cold drink in the car; usually a diet soda. Do you tolerate caffeine at all? Our local supermarket (Krogers) sells their brand of caffeine drink mix called "In an Instant Morning Boost"- a caffeinated powder, individually packaged, that you just add to a bottle (17 oz) of cold water. Available in different flavors. Each packet has 160mg caffeine, but you can use half a packet to mix with water.
How long is your commute home? This may be a bit extreme, but could you place a timer in your car and set it to go off every few minutes? The loud ringing will wake you up if you were drifting off. How about a bag with some ice in it? A cold wash cloth to the face while you are in the car may wake you up.
Also, is it possible that maybe you didn't fall asleep? That the accident could have happened even if you were awake? Sometimes after a traumatic event, your brain goes into a "protective mode" so you don't remember what happened leading up to the accident.
Are you on 8 or 12 hour shifts? Depending on where you work, they may be OK with your asking to be put on a waiting list to go to day shift. Especially if you explain the reasons why you can't work nights.
Jan 29, '13Occupation: Office Worker From: US ; Joined: Jan '13; Posts: 47; Likes: 9Monster energy drinks ( I like the coffee flavored "Lo-ball" or "vanilla light". Recently discovered ultra energy zero which is like a super sprite. Or try 5 hour energy type things. Chewing gum and loud music helps like others mentioned.
Jan 29, '13Joined: Jan '06; Posts: 453; Likes: 219Quote from edmiaI agree with this! I have a 1.5 hour commute home most days. When I get home I got straight to bed! Draw the curtains, phone on vibrate and sleep mask on. I sleep for 8-9 hours as I feel I need more sleep than I do working days. I sleep really late the morning before my first shift and then only sleep for a few hours after my last shift of the week so i can go to bed at night. I also drink a coffee at about 4 am!How is your daytime sleeping going? If you can't get a good night's sleep during the day, nothing will keep you awake. You have to get room darkening shades, ear plugs, and eye mask and GO TO SLEEP when you get home. For at least 6 hours.
There's no other way to adjust to night shift, you have to make your body understand that the rules have changed.
Good luck and I'm glad you didn't get hurt.
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Jan 29, '13Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Medical Surgical ; From: US ; Joined: Dec '09; Posts: 357; Likes: 675I worked nights for six weeks at a classic nightmare ltc home, couldn't wait to get out of there. I started looking for a day job after two weeks, found one after two weeks of looking, and after six weeks was out of there, and loved my new day job. Never regretted finding a new job...ever.
I have found that as a nurse, if you don't like what your doing or something about the position your in... just do something else. I'm working nights again, but from home, and I love it so much!