Avoid Highway Hypnosis with These Truck Driving Tips
Do you ever find yourself driving and then 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 truck drivers with long trips on the highway. Below, you’ll learn what highway hypnosis is and how you can prevent it.
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 more susceptible to highway hypnosis because of the long hauls on the highways.
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 difference between driving while tired and road hypnosis.
Driving while you are fatigued can lead to tunnel vision and reduced awareness of the road. Drowsy driving decreases reaction time and impairs 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 alerted when danger is presented. Although, road hypnosis can still be dangerous as you are not entirely focused.
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 allows the mind to have an automatic response pattern, usually as a result of learning, repetition, and practice.
We have automaticity in our daily lives with examples of walking or riding a bike. 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 for your drive. Here are truck driving tips to avoid highway hypnosis:
- Drive in daylight if your hours permit
- Drink caffeinated beverages
- Eat food for energy, but don’t eat too much
- Maintain good posture
- Keep the cabin cool by rolling down the windows or turn on the A/C
- Talk to someone
- Do not listen to music you enjoy, it could lull you into highway hypnosis
- Ensure you get plenty of sleep before driving
- Stop and take frequent breaks