With the arrival of the winter season comes treacherous road conditions. Snow plows work tirelessly to keep snow, slush and ice from endangering Colorado drivers. But the weather isn’t the only hazard that poses a threat to drivers.
Wintertime also sees a decrease in daylight. And with the recent daylight-saving setback, many drivers now carry out their daily commutes in the dark. This added darkness increases the risk of fatigued or drowsy driving.
Fatigued drivers are dangerous drivers
A long day at work can tire you out. To make matters worse, you may have to navigate the slow-moving traffic of rush hour in order to make it home. With the added cover of darkness, your mind can trick your body into believing that it’s time to sleep.
Fatigue or drowsiness can make your commute dangerous for you and the other drivers around you. It can affect your:
- Ability to pay attention to the road
- Reaction times to the traffic around you
- Sensible decision-making skills
You even run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in 25 drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel. In addition, drowsy driving accounts for 72,000 crashes each year. More than half of those accidents result in serious injury, and the frequency spikes during the dark winter months.
So, what can you do to beat these statistics?
Preventing drowsy driving
Unfortunately, you can’t stop the encroaching darkness from settling in. But there are preventative measures you can take to keep fatigue at bay on your commute:
- Get plenty of sleep — Adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. When you regularly get enough sleep, you may be less likely to develop symptoms of drowsiness on your way home from work.
- Adjust your work schedule — If your schedule allows it, change your work hours so you can avoid driving home in the dark. You may be able to beat rush hour while you’re at it.
- Develop a routine — Having a consistent night time routine can help your body adjust to the time change. When you make your commute home, your body won’t think it’s time to sleep.
Fatigued driving can lead to devastating consequences. Don’t let the winter time change keep you from having a safe commute home.