Keep Your Holidays Jolly and Bright: reasons you should refrain from driving drowsy

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Three reindeer flying over the road at night

Just as the Grinch would say, the holidays have arrived which means the darkest days of the year are here! As the fall days pass, nights will continue to grow longer as days grow shorter until the winter solstice on Dec. 21. Driving in the dark increases the risks for any driver, so they will need to take steps to avoid getting behind the wheel drowsy and be even more aware about their headlights and surroundings.

Even a momentary bout with drowsiness and fatigue while behind the wheel could prove exceedingly dangerous. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research, “drivers who have slept less than five hours have a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk” and “drivers who miss one or two hours of sleep can nearly double their risk of a crash.”

The possible effects of drowsiness and fatigue may include slow reaction times, loss of concentration, lack of control, coordination and judgement problems, and an impact on mood.

Drivers who succumb to fatigue may have slower response times in which they cannot react promptly to hazardous situations occurring on the road around them. Drowsy drivers may also lose concentration easily and fail to perform simple tasks, such as looking over their shoulder when changing lanes.

Drivers’ lack of control may also cause them to struggle to properly maintain lane control, shifting in and out of lanes with little awareness of the cars around them. In addition, studies indicate that as your drowsiness and fatigue grow, your hand-eye coordination and judgement calls are weakened. Lastly, drowsiness can cause drivers to become more irritable and exhibit aggressive behavior while on the road.

As the days get darker, AAA recommends the following to compensate for reduced visibility: checking your highlights for signs of discoloration, decreasing your speed and trail distance behind cars to four or more seconds, keeping your eyes moving to avoid only focusing on the area illuminated by your headlights, and avoid being blinded by oncoming traffic by focusing your gaze on the right side of the road as cars pass.

Reduced visibility and the possibility of drowsiness and fatigue are just two potent dangers drivers may face on dark roads, so it is important to stay alert and drive carefully.

If you have suffered an injury or harm stemming from another driver’s negligent behavior, the attorneys at Custodio and Dubey LLP are ready to help you recover compensation.