Millions of Americans work a night or rotational shift, and according to a study made by researchers at a prominent Boston health care facility, approximately 28 percent of drivers admitted that they fell asleep at the wheel at least once in the previous year. This could make some South Carolina motorists worried about their safety on the road.

The problem is compounded by the fact that night shift workers tend to become drowsy during their daytime commute home. The researchers, in an effort to measure drowsiness and driving performance in night shift workers, brought together 16 such workers for two driving sessions. The first was conducted after a full night’s sleep, the second after they were off work.

Researchers stated that, on average, they were able to detect signs of sleep-related impairment within the first 15 minutes that participants drove. Most sessions had to be terminated early because of poor driving choices; for example, half ended with drivers failing to maintain control their vehicles. Over a third of the drivers ended the second session with emergency braking maneuvers, while six ended with a near-crash event. Since drowsiness can manifest itself so quickly, researchers encourage night shift workers to pull over at the first sign of it. They should also, if possible, seek alternate transportation for the future.

Car accidents that have been caused by the drowsiness of another motorist can result in serious and sometimes catastrophic injuries to occupants of other vehicles. People who have been harmed in such a manner might find it advisable to meet with a personal injury attorney in order to learn how best to seek compensation for their losses.