It is essentially human instinct to hunker down indoors when the temperature starts to drop. Socialization tends to decline in the fall and winter months, and people spend significantly more time indoors, which may lead to weight gain.
The winter months affect your biological clock or circadian rhythm. When light levels are lower, you likely feel tired earlier in the day and remain sleepier later in the morning. You won’t be the only one feeling the effects of shorter days and longer evenings.
As temperatures drop and dusk comes sooner, your risk of a drowsy driving collision will also increase.
Drowsy drivers are very dangerous
The longer that someone has gone without adequate sleep, the more compromised their driving abilities become. Fatigue affects the brain negatively in ways that largely mirror the effects of alcohol. Tired drivers take longer to react and have a harder time making good choices. They are also more prone to distraction and more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.
In the cooler seasons, you have to fight against not only someone’s personal scheduling decisions, like the decision to stay out well past midnight, but also their changing biological rhythms. People will experience a late afternoon slump in energy and may have a much harder time staying awake in the evenings or early mornings.
How can you protect yourself?
Prevention is the key to staying safe on the road. Making sure that you get enough sleep or asking someone else to drive when you don’t could make a massive difference to your likelihood of getting into a crash.
Of course, other drivers substantially increase your risk of a wreck with their unsafe practices. You can’t stop someone from trying to drive home after staying awake for 30 straight hours, but you can screen your surroundings more carefully during transitional times and after dark. If you do get into a crash caused by another driver, you may need to review your options for an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit based on the circumstances of the collision and the losses you incur.
Identifying and avoiding common motor vehicle collision causes can help you avoid collisions or at least the legal liability that comes from causing them.