The shift from summer to winter in Indiana can be relatively dramatic. The trees put on their most colorful displays, and the days seem to shorten quite rapidly. Yet, the environment around the state isn’t the only major change at the end of summer. Law enforcement priorities also start to shift as well. Police departments around Indiana often start looking more closely for impaired drivers during the fall and winter months. The result may be a higher number of people arrested on allegations of operating while intoxicated OWI charges.
Why do enforcement efforts increase when temperatures around the state drop?
Many people self-medicate in the winter
When people start noticing a drop in temperature and a reduction in the sunshine they can enjoy, they may experience a slump in their energy levels and overall mood. Many people struggle with seasonal declines in mental health as temperatures drop and sunlight exposure reduces as well. Self-medicating through the consumption of alcohol is one of the many unhealthy ways in which people make cope with those unfavorable seasonal changes. The holidays are a time when this practice becomes particularly dangerous.
Celebrations are another issue
Some of these people self-medicate to get through family celebrations, while others simply enjoy holiday traditions involving alcohol a little too much. Police departments around Indiana will therefore often prioritize watching for impaired motorists on hand close to major holidays. Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day, in particular, tend to see significant increases in the number of drunk driving collisions that occur.
Other celebrations can also lead to drunk driving. From back-to-school parties on college campuses to football tailgate events, there are numerous celebrations during the fall and winter months in which alcohol will likely play a major role. People drinking in social environments are often encouraged to overindulge and will frequently underestimate how much the alcohol they have consumed impacts their cognition and driving abilities.
Combine those reasons for increased alcohol consumption with changes to people’s biometric rhythms that may lead to fatigue earlier in the day when the sun sets, and you have a recipe for significantly increased crash risk. Motorists who recognize when collision risk and enforcement efforts are at their highest might be in a better position to avoid an OWI arrest or to more effectively respond to charges after getting arrested in Indiana.