National Safe Driving Week, Dec. 1 – 7, draws attention to the special circumstances involved with winter driving conditions. However, it is also an opportunity to think about all aspects of safe driving.
One thing to consider is that in the winter, the interior of a vehicle is usually quite warm. Due to shorter days, drivers may also be driving in the dark both on their way to and from work. This creates conditions that can induce sleepiness.
In normal circumstances, it would be advisable to pull over and have a short nap. However, winter conditions present a unique danger because if the vehicle is turned off, one can get very cold or freeze. On the other hand, keeping the vehicle running, can create a carbon monoxide danger.
If you are pulling over to have a roadside nap in the winter, ensure that the vehicle flashers are on and that one or more windows are open an inch or two to allow for fresh air. Also, consider calling someone, let them know you’ve stopped for a nap and request that they call you in 15 – 20 minutes. Don’t just set your own alarm because if you were to succumb to carbon monoxide, the alarm would be of no value.
Strategies for Health and Well-Being
- Have a winter safety kit in your car.
- Recognize conditions which can cause sleepiness.
- Keep the interior of the vehicle cooler.
- Listen to talk radio or lively music.
- Learn more tips for managing sleepiness and fatigue while driving on our new CD,
Drive Alert: 38 Minutes That Could Save Your Life.