With the autumn months already in full swing and winter right around the corner, drivers must handle having less and less daylight every day until spring. Nearly every driver would rather be behind the wheel in clear, dry, sunny conditions. Unfortunately, the end of the year often presents dangerous environmental hazards to a safe trip. With the sun setting earlier and earlier, will drivers face challenges more often?
During the fall and winter months, drivers must contend with two types of hazardous elements:
- Sun glare: Due to the sun’s position along the horizon commuters often have to face more direct sunlight. When the sun is rising or setting drivers might encounter severe sun glare. This sun glare can cause temporary blindness leading to devastating collisions as drivers can no longer recognize stopped traffic or nearby pedestrians. Unfortunately, the rising and setting sun coincides with the morning and evening commute to and from work.
- Early nighttime: While it is a psychological phenomenon, many individuals feel more fatigued when the sun goes down. People are generally more alert during sunlight hours and often feel energy draining with more time spent in the darkness. This can lead to more yawning while behind the wheel and a general loss of focus on the road.
Whether drivers are fatigued behind the wheel or simply lose focus, they can become dangerous to others on the roads. From busy city streets to fast-moving highways, a drowsy driver can drift into oncoming lanes, fail to recognize stopped traffic in their lane or miss intersection safety signals. These scenarios can lead to rear-end collisions, head-on collisions and T-bone collisions. Drivers and other vehicle occupants can suffer catastrophic injuries such as head trauma, spinal cord damage, paralysis and amputation.