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Driving whilst tired -WWBU

(49 Posts)
CrimsonandViolet Tue 31-Oct-17 08:34:37

Once a month DH has to fly to a business meeting in London. He has to get up at 5am, and is home by 9pm. He usually starts work at 9am, but the day after the London meeting he has a breakfast meeting at 8am to discuss the London meeting.

On his last trip, he phoned from Heathrow to say his flight home was delayed, then it was delayed again, then his flight was being diverted to another airport and they were being bussed, and then, once he'd arrived in the other airport, they waited for an also-diverted Bristol flight to land so that the London and Bristol passengers could be bussed together. He got home at 2am, and was back up at 6am in order to make the breakfast meeting.

He looked exhausted. I suggested he should try to come home at lunchtime and work from home in the afternoon, to avoid driving home through rush hour traffic at 5.30 / 6, whilst exhausted. He could easily spend the afternoon working through e-mails from home.

His boss refused! By the time he got home he was dead on his feet.

I have two questions.

Firstly, was it a reasonable request to go home early in the circumstances, and was it reasonable for his boss to refuse?

Secondly, would driving home at 5.30pm having had 4 hours sleep (plus dozing fitfully on the bus) in the previous 36 /37 hours be regarded as dangerous driving?

splendidisolation Tue 31-Oct-17 08:42:23

His boss is a dick. Poor DH!

PoppyPopcorn Tue 31-Oct-17 08:45:19

Too many variables. Some people cope well on little sleep. It was a one-off, he's not being expected to do it regularly. A drive to work which is less than 30 minutes through town is different from a 2 hour commute along a monotonous motorway. Even at my most sleep deprived after having kids I was OK to take them to nursery/school by car - never crashed.

Depends on the employer too. DH has a similar job in that he often has late nights and early starts - today he was up at 5am to catch a flight to America and won't be back until Saturday. His employer does value him though, and unless there is an important meeting or something else he can't miss, they allow the odd day working at home. I appreciate that not every employer is as flexible.

So in short - as a one off, not worth making a fuss over. As a regular thing, probably.

Topseyt Tue 31-Oct-17 08:46:56

The request to work from home that afternoon was perfectly reasonable.

His boss was being an arse.

Ttbb Tue 31-Oct-17 08:48:53

Next time tell him to take a cab.

CrimsonandViolet Tue 31-Oct-17 08:52:42

It was a one-off; there hasn't been a problem like that with the flights before.

At peak traffic it's a 60 min commute, almost all dual carriageway, lots of roundabouts. If he'd been allowed to come home at lunchtime it would have been a 30 min drive.

CrimsonandViolet Tue 31-Oct-17 08:54:58

Ttbb If I'd thought he wouldn't get home at lunchtime I would have suggested that. But it's a £35 taxi fare one way, so not insignificant.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 31-Oct-17 08:59:21

I think having to take a flight once a month is mad business practice anyway - and then making him drive after a delay is entirely wrong, and dangerous both for your DH and for the other people on the road. In my view, the boss was BU.

Obviously I don't know where you live, but if I was him I'd be looking at sleeper trains, where you didn't have to worry about when you could get sleep.

ShotsFired Tue 31-Oct-17 09:03:58

It was a one-off (and many people effectively do that day in day out if they have babies or shift work etc), but yes the boss was being a bit of a dick about it, if there was no genuine business reason or policy to disallow it.

deepestdarkestperu Tue 31-Oct-17 09:08:30

I don’t think his boss was unreasonable to request a last minute work from home request. Presumably his boss was of the opinion that he was either capable of work (in which case he could work at work) or too tired, in which case he should have gone home and taken the afternoon as AL or offered to make the time up elsewhere.

While I’m sympathetic and travelling etc. is crap - your DH should have either decided he was unsafe to drive at all (in which case he shouldn’t have gone to work) or just coped with a lot of coffee. I don’t think many bosses are too sympathetic when it comes to people being “too tired” unfortunately!

grobagsforever Tue 31-Oct-17 09:11:33

He shouldn't have driven at all on four hours sleep. I say this as someone who has nodded off on motorway and woke up drifting into fast lane. Never again.

He was being unreasonable to drive - should have told his boss he was working from home all day, an employer cannot compel you to drive in with only four hours sleep - its driving when unfit, and therefore illegal.

FFS. It only takes one slip and you kill someone. Would he drive drunk?

BiddyPop Tue 31-Oct-17 09:14:55

It was recently pointed out to me that I had breached the EU Working Time Directive by going into work for 8am after getting home at 2am from a delayed flight (and that I had separately breached it by already doing 38 hours working in 2 days so was going to go way over the limit of 48 in the whole week as I had 3 more "regular" days in the office, 9-5.45, to do). The first part is that you must have at least an 8 hour break between "shifts", and that travelling for work reasons is counted in this.

It might be worth pointing that out to Manager, and seeking some kind of recognition of the very long day with an early start the next day through an agreement to take some time in lieu that or the next day to make up for it. Or else starting to allow your DH to travel up the day before the London meeting and get a decent night's sleep instead.

PoppyPopcorn Tue 31-Oct-17 09:16:02

But Grobags we're all different - one person might be fine on 4 hours sleep as a one off, others may not be. OP's DH didn't crash and made it home fine, although tired.

CrimsonandViolet Tue 31-Oct-17 09:18:27

Surely "too tired" when he'd had an obviously gruelling working day the day before, is different to a general "too tired" or a "too tired" caused by persaonal circumstances? In order to attend his work meeting he'd ended up awake from 5am to 2am, and then got back up at 6am? Obviously the travel problems weren't his boss's fault, but they weren't DH's fault either.

I didn't think he was too tired to drive to work (after 4 hours sleep in the previous 26) or to drive home at 12 noon on comparatively quiet roads (after 4 hours sleep in 31 hours) but peak traffic on 4 hours sleep in 36/37? I thought he was too tired to be safe. His boss knew the difference in traffic between 12 noon and 5.30.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 31-Oct-17 09:19:02

OP's DH didn't crash and made it home fine, although tired.

This time he made it home safe. It really is dangerous to drive when overtired, even if you've got away with it in the past. (It's also really not fair on other road users, either.)

mummyretired Tue 31-Oct-17 09:19:38

There is a legal requirement for 11 hours of rest between working days. www.gov.uk/rest-breaks-work

Travel is a bit of a grey area and I can't tell from your post how much of the journey is home to normal place of work and how much is additional, but the 'additional' element counts as work for the purposes of calculating breaks.

Raise it with HR as a health and safety concern. It may be a one-off but that doesn't excuse putting an employees' safety at risk. What sort of quality of work can they be expecting on that amount of sleep!

Percephone Tue 31-Oct-17 09:21:32

I would have missed the breakfast meeting.

PoppyPopcorn Tue 31-Oct-17 09:24:25

This time he made it home safe.

Yes but unless there are other lengthy flight delays and diversions to Heathrow, there probably won't be a next time.

Look, nobody's arguing that it's ideal to drive off to work on very little sleep. But everyone's done it for a range of reasons. Yes, his boss could have been a little more flexible but there may have been a whole host of reasons why work couldn't just allow an afternoon working from home which even the OP or her DH are totally unaware of. If it were a regular, expected thing then yes take it further. But as a one-off caused by circumstances totally outwith anyone's control, it's just "one of those things".

deepestdarkestperu Tue 31-Oct-17 09:25:23

Your DH is an adult and should have made the decision himself not to go into work if he was going to be too tired to complete a full day. He shouldn’t have gone in hoping to only do a half day.

And the working time directive certainly doesn’t apply to all businesses or employees - lots of people opt out because of their working hours or industry.

PoppyPopcorn Tue 31-Oct-17 09:25:43

I would have missed the breakfast meeting.

Here's your P45 then for not turning up to work. hmm

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Tue 31-Oct-17 09:29:32

Yesterday I left home at 4.30am at get into London for a meeting at 9.30am. Left at 3.30pm and got home long after 7. It's tiring.

In your husband's position, I'd be arranging to stay over the night before the meeting - or at least have that option. He would at least have a 'bank' of sleep to work with then rather than a deficit.

RB68 Tue 31-Oct-17 09:30:08

Are you sure the boss knew about the 2 am home arrival - sometimes men do not articulate issues like this well and he may have just said after yesterdays travel etc. Either way he is being a bit of an arse scheduling an 8am review of meeting. Next time I would tell DH to not be a martyr to the the company (they will have no loyalty when push comes to shove) book an overnight where he is going and flyback next day - if boss wants a debrief get DH to say yeah - lets speak after the meeting - 8pm - inconvenience the boss by working into his time and he might start to understand the infringement that is happening. They do not own you whatever they think.

mirime Tue 31-Oct-17 09:34:37

Here's your P45 then for not turning up to work.

That would not be a reasonable response from an employer.

He probably should have phoned in sick.

GuestWW Tue 31-Oct-17 09:35:38

Completely unreasonable, would never expect a member of my team to do that. Working time directive (the part you CANNOT sign out of) says 11 hours continuous rest in a 24 hour period. Corporate manslaughter / duty of care means if he did have an accident at work or whilst driving the HSS would come down hard. Even for a one-off.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 31-Oct-17 09:36:44

Yes but unless there are other lengthy flight delays and diversions to Heathrow, there probably won't be a next time.

If you fly once a month, there's always, at some point, going to be a next time. (And in fact as weather patterns change, next times are going to become more frequent, not less.)

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