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The Dangers of Driver Fatigue in the Winter

young man sitting in the driver's seat yawning

Winter Months and Driver Fatigue

Whether you realize it or not, many aspects of the winter season can adversely affect nearly every part of your daily commute. From visibility issues caused by weather and shorter days to mechanical troubles, there is no shortage of mishaps that may be prevalent.

However, one largely overlooked component is how this time of year can affect your mood and tiredness levels. According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 25 drivers report falling asleep at the wheel. Your risk of this may increase during the winter, as tiredness levels overall tend to trend in that direction. Read on to learn why.

Shorter Days Increase Fatigue

Studies have shown how light has a significant effect on sleep/wake cycles, and this was further influenced by the introduction of electricity in the early 20th century. Because our brains have a more alert, stimulating response to light, darkness often signals time to rest. When the days are shorter in the winter months and your drive home from work is in near-total darkness, feelings of tiredness may appear earlier in the day.

Factors like seasonal affective disorder (“seasonal depression”) may also contribute to increased fatigue, agitation, difficulty concentrating, and other factors that may affect your driving.

How Fatigue Affects Driving Ability

Driver fatigue can manifest itself in many ways, like brain fog, tunnel vision, forgetfulness, and increased reaction times—all of which can become hazardous while driving. Combine these with icy roads, dense fog, or heavy rainfall, and there is an increased likelihood that you may be involved in a collision.

It's crucial for drivers to understand how fatigue can hinder their driving ability and roadway safety. Remember to never get behind the wheel when feeling tired and use caution when commuting home at the end of the workday.

Northern California Car Accident Attorneys

Know that you have a right to seek legal action against an individual who has caused you harm, and our team can help. The attorneys at Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley are dedicated advocates for car accident victims who have become injured by a negligent driver. We can help you hold these individuals accountable for the damages they cause.

Schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today by calling (530) 413-0245 or filling out this short form.