Assessing the impact of what happens at work on people’s commute

With more people now heading back to the office and an appreciable rise in traffic on the roads, those dealing with the logistical consequences of car crashes have seen a spike in activity in recent weeks.

One of the main causes of these accidents is drivers falling asleep at the wheel and those dealing with the practicalities after the incident say this is particularly noticeable among exhausted frontline workers coming off long shifts.

Philip Mackessy is the founder of Limerick-based automotive technology company Auxion, which provides vehicle recovery and salvage management services related to road accidents. He says accidents developed a pattern during the pandemic with the number of incidents rising sharply in the first few days following the easing of a lockdown before returning to more normal levels.

“We are just coming out of the latest cycle and things are beginning to settle into the type of pattern that’s typical of early summer volumes in pre-pandemic times,” he says.

“From the accidents we’ve been seeing of late, however, their type and timing fits with the idea of people being tired at the end of a long day. They are happening in the evening and usually only involve one vehicle – so somebody nods off and ends up in the ditch or in the central reservation: they’re more fender benders than serious accidents,” he says.   

Asking people to drive home at the end of a stressful day at any time, not just during a pandemic, raises wider concerns about how proactive employers are when it comes to mitigating workplace stress.

New research from the Rotterdam School of Management shows that most road traffic accidents happen on the way home from work and that “the characteristics of the working day”, or what happens in the office, has an impact on employee safety on the journey home.

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