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Avoid Highway Hypnosis with These Truck Driving Tips

Truck Driver Academy / Blog  / Avoid Highway Hypnosis with These Truck Driving Tips

Avoid Highway Hypnosis with These Truck Driving Tips

Highway Hypnosis

Do you ever find yourself driving and then what seems to be “all of a sudden” arriving at your destination, but realized you weren’t quite sure how you got there? This common occurrence is called highway hypnosis or white line fever. Highway hypnosis happens more often than you’d think with drivers, especially with truck drivers embarking on long trips on the highway. Below, you’ll learn more about what highway hypnosis is and how you can prevent it.

So, What Is Highway Hypnosis?

Highway hypnosis is a trance-like mental state a driver can experience when responding to external driving events in an expected, safe, and correct manner, but with no recollection of having consciously done so. Drivers can experience highway hypnosis in short periods of time or extended drives. Truck drivers are thought to be more susceptible to highway hypnosis because of their frequent long hauls on the highways.

Is Road Hypnosis the same as Highway Hypnosis?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving, which also includes road hypnosis, results in more than 100,000 crashes each year. However, there is a distinct difference between driving while tired and road hypnosis.

Driving while you are tired or fatigued can lead to tunnel vision and reduced awareness of the road. Drowsy driving can decrease your reaction time and impair your coordination, judgment, and memory. Drowsy driving can also lead to falling asleep at the wheel, while road hypnosis can only occur when you are wide awake. When experiencing road hypnosis, you automatically scan the environment for threats and you are still alerted when danger is presented. Although, road hypnosis can still be dangerous as you are not entirely focused and just on “autopilot.”

What Is Highway Hypnosis Is Related to?

Highway hypnosis is related to automaticity, where the conscious and subconscious minds are able to concentrate on various things. Automaticity is the ability to do things without occupying the mind with the low-level details required. Automaticity is said to allow the mind to have an automatic response pattern, usually as a result of learning, repetition, and practice.

Automaticity doesn’t only happen while driving, we have automaticity in our daily lives – when doing things like walking or riding a bike. Although it sounds alarming, automaticity is not necessarily harmful, but it does keep you from being in a present state of mind.

How to Avoid Highway Hypnosis

Avoiding highway hypnosis includes improving your focus and ensuring you are awake and ready for your drive. Here are truck driving tips to avoid highway hypnosis:

  • Drive in daylight if your hours permit
  • Drink caffeinated beverages
  • Eat quality whole foods, but do your best to not eat too much – as overeating can make you tired
  • Do your best to maintain good posture throughout your entire drive
  • Keep the cabin cool by rolling down the windows or turn on the A/C
  • Talk and have conversations with a passenger or on the phone using a hands free device
  • Try not to listen to slow or relaxing music, even if you enjoy, as it could lull you into highway hypnosis
  • Ensure you get plenty of sleep before driving
  • Stop and take frequent breaks

Check out our blog for more truck driving tips and must-have accessories for your long hauls. Contact us to get your truck driving career in gear today!