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Have you ever reached a destination without any recollection of your driving experience? Highway hypnosis is defined as driving while in a trance-like state. Familiar routes such as your daily commute to work or the grocery store may put you in this state without you realizing it. 

However, driving on autopilot can have dangerous consequences. Highway hypnosis is similar to driving while drowsy because your brain is not as reactive to environmental stimuli. Reduced driver reaction time increases the chance of a collision. 

During highway hypnosis, the task of driving is so automatic that you drive with no conscious thought about what you are doing. You might be able to reach your destination safely, but you aren’t alert enough to think and act quickly to an unexpected event on the roadway such as a car making a sudden turn or a pedestrian crossing without a signal. 

What Causes Highway Hypnosis?

Highway Hypnosis typically happens when a driver is traveling a long, monotonous distance. 

Fatigued or drowsy drivers who are driving for long periods of time such as long-haul commercial truckers are at the most risk. 

The white dotted lines on roads may add to the hypnotic effect which is why highway hypnosis is often referred to as “White Line Fever”. 

Highway hypnosis is different than drowsy driving because the drivers are conscious and their eyes are open, whereas drowsy driving is when the driver may close their eyes or fall asleep at the wheel.

How to Avoid Highway Hypnosis

  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Caffeinated drinks cannot replace the vital function of sleep for your brain. 
  • Take regular breaks on lengthy trips and go for a quick walk to supply plenty of oxygen to the brain.
  • Switch drivers on long trips.
  • Play loud, upbeat music instead of soft, relaxing music which may make you sleepy.
  • Open the window for fresh air. 
  • Don’t look straight ahead for extended periods of time. Check your side and rearview mirrors to spot any signs or obstructions.
  • Drive when it’s light outside, if possible. The sunlight may help regulate your circadian rhythm.

Car Accident Attorney in Louisville, KY

Before zoning out on your next drive, make sure you are well rested and not drowsy. If you have been involved in an accident due to another driver’s negligence, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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