Tips on how to avoid highway hypnosis
Have you ever been traveling and then just “all of a sudden” arrived at your destination, only to discover you weren’t entirely sure how you got there? Highway hypnosis or white line fever are frequent terms used to describe this condition. Contrary to popular belief, highway hypnosis affects drivers rather frequently, particularly truck drivers who regularly travel long distances on the highway.
What is Highway Hypnosis?
Highway hypnosis is a trance-like mind state that occurs when a driver responds to driving circumstances in a predictable, safe, and proper way without being aware that they did so. Highway hypnosis can occur for brief intervals or throughout lengthy travels. Because they often travel long distances on the roads, truck drivers are believed to be more prone to highway hypnosis.
Is drowsiness the same as highway hypnosis?
Over 100,000 collisions a year are caused by sleepy driving, which also involves road hypnosis. But there is a clear distinction between being highway hypnosis and being sleepy while driving.
Driving while drowsy or exhausted can cause blurry vision and a loss of driving attention. Driving when sleepy can affect your concentration, cognition, and memory as well as slow down your response time.
Road hypnosis can only happen while you are fully awake, whereas drowsy driving might potentially result in falling asleep behind the wheel. When under the influence of highway hypnosis, you constantly examine your surroundings for danger and are still aware of it when it arises.
Road hypnosis, however, can still be problematic because you are only operating on “autopilot” and are not fully attentive.
Why does highway hypnosis happen?
Highway hypnosis is associated with automaticity, in which the conscious and subconscious minds may focus on different topics. Automaticity is the capacity to carry out tasks without involving the brain in the small details necessary. According to automaticity, the mind may develop an automatic reaction pattern as a result of experience, repetition, and practice.
Automaticity occurs throughout our daily lives, even when we walk or ride a bike. It doesn’t just happen while we’re driving. Automaticity is not always negative, despite how terrifying it sounds, but it does prevent you from being in the moment.
How to prevent highway hypnosis
Increasing your level of attention and making sure you are awake and prepared for your journey are two ways to prevent highway hypnosis. Here is some advice for truck drivers to prevent highway hypnosis:
Pay attention to your health
Get proper rest. Pay close attention to your diet. Be active even when you are traveling a long distance. Aside from the numerous advantages of concentrating on your health, doing so will help keep your mood upbeat.
Large meals and little sleep might make you tired while driving, but they can also cause you to lose focus and lead to highway hypnosis. Your mind will be stronger and you’ll have a higher chance of retaining good control of your wits if you keep all of your systems running smoothly.
Focus on something
Try to find something to do while you are driving. Don’t just sit there staring out the window for hours at a time. Constantly checking your mirrors is the simplest method to do this.
If you’re on a straight stretch of empty highway without any curves, it can seem needless, but it keeps your mind active. This prevents the trance-like experience from diverting your focus.
Stop and take brakes
It’s crucial to be aware of your mental state in order to spot when you could be at risk of falling into hypnosis while driving. This will serve as a warning and provide you some breathing room so that you may refocus and resume operating in a safe manner.
When you start to feel your focus weakening, stop and take a little break. Find someone to talk to for a short while, go for a walk around your truck, or do some push-ups. It would be beneficial if you can find fresh ways to stimulate your thinking.
Roll the window down
It isn’t always possible to pull over. You may easily re-energize yourself and engage your brain at any time by rolling down your windows.
You’ll be awakened by the blast of chilly air. Additionally, rolling down your window while on the highway will make a lot of noise. This is another element that will help you focus your attention again where it belongs.