Some of the most serious motor vehicle crash risks receive near-universal acknowledgment. People understand, for example, that driving after drinking is very dangerous, as is texting while driving. The law in Pennsylvania helps reinforce the idea that distracted driving and drunk driving are bad choices.
However, another, very common form of driving risk is one that people don’t take as seriously as they should. Fatigued or drowsy driving is a very serious issue on the modern American roads. People who are tired have trouble making good decisions. They have longer reaction times, and they have a much more difficult time focusing on the incoming information about the road around them. Drowsy drivers are also at risk of falling asleep at the wheel, which can very easily lead to crashes.
Unfortunately, as the weather grows colder across Pennsylvania, the danger caused by fatigued drivers on the road increases.
Winter weather affects people’s biological clocks
The reason that the temperatures drop and the days grow shorter in winter has to do with the Earth’s path around the sun. The Northern Hemisphere becomes increasingly pointed away from the sun as fall slowly fades into winter.
Less sunlight means changes to the internal biological rhythms of everyone. With the sun out less, the body may produce more melatonin to help people fall asleep or stay asleep longer. As days grow shorter, your body will typically produce melatonin earlier in the day as the sun starts setting and will continue producing it later in the morning than it does during the warmer and brighter months.
Not only could there be more crash risks because of lower light conditions, but the drivers around you could also have cognitive consequences from the winter weather that make them more likely to cause a crash.
Understanding seasonal traffic risks could save your life
There are different risks that are a more serious concern at different points throughout the year. The summer sees a marked increase in teen crashes and drunk driving collisions, while the winter roads may see more collisions caused by inclement weather and fatigue.
Tracking these seasonal risk factors and adjusting your driving habits accordingly could potentially help you avoid a motor vehicle collision or could at least help you avoid being responsible for any wreck you do experience.