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For most people, winter has already overstayed its welcome. The cold.  The wind.  The snow and ice.  While fatigue and driving distractions increase the likelihood of an auto accident, these two things can seriously increase an accident during inclement weather.

Inclement winter conditions take a huge toll on a driver’s attention and energy. Most don’t realize that snowy conditions can use up to four times the energy and concentration of driving under normal conditions.  Driving in rain, sleet, ice and snow also puts extra demands on our eyes.  This includes an extended drive to/from work due to slippery roads, traffic back-ups, or accidents.

Fatigue not only impairs ones ability to safely perform even basic-driving tasks, it also decreases reaction time, affects judgment, and causes problems processing information.  Stress and fatigue can tire one out, lowering alertness, focus, concentration, and the ability to properly judge environmental factors such as traffic, visibility, speed and more.  When drivers let down their coping defenses or underestimate the exhaustion that can set in after an extended period of sustained focus and tension, mistakes and misjudging a situation can occur.

There are several warning signs of fatigue that should not be ignored especially with the record breaking snowfalls and frigid temperatures we are experiencing this year.

  • Feeling sleepy or tired
  • Unable to get comfortable
  • Tired or burning eyes
  • Rubbing your neck or face to wake up
  • Driving off the shoulder or crossing the center line
  • Driving too fast or following too closely
  • Poor judgment of road conditions and presence of traffic

Any of these symptoms may result in loss of vehicle control.

Due to shorter days, many drivers will travel to/from work in the dark; driving in the dark can hinder driver alertness.  Also, consider the interior temperature of a vehicle.  When the temperatures are dipping into the single digits or lower, the heater tends to be cranked even higher.  Both these factors create conditions that can induce sleepiness.

A fatigued driver is an impaired driver, and is just as dangerous as a drunk driver.  The only reliable way to combat fatigue is with proper rest. Even a short nap can do wonders. Don’t let fatigue kill you or someone else.

Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.

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