All about Highway Hypnosis
Modern vehicles come with tons of car safety features. They help keep the driver, passengers and bystanders safe in case of a mishap. While technology plays its part to keep you away from harm’s way, there are errors from the human side leading to accidents. Besides rash driving or not safe-to-drive vehicles, some medical conditions can also play their part in vehicular crashes. One such medical condition is highway hypnosis.
Although lesser known, highway hypnosis can cause accidents when driving. We will do a detailed overview of this driving-related medical condition and see how people can avoid it.
What is Highway Hypnosis
Highway hypnosis also known as driving hypnosis or white line fever is a driving phenomenon where the driver zones out during the ride. The condition can last for a short period or in some cases it may carry on for long.
Unlike car motion sickness or other vehicle-related conditions, highway hypnosis has a unique characteristic. The driver does not have any recollection of what happened during the zoning-out period.
Put in simple words, a driver continues to drive the vehicle with complete control over the steering. However, for a duration, the driver loses track of time and what’s happening in the surroundings. The whole situation can be dangerous and can result in an accident.
Highway Hypnosis – What does it Feel Like?
Typically, a person does not feel like going into highway hypnosis and realises it after the zoning out phase is over. However, there are some warning signs which may indicate the start of the phase. Some common signs are listed as follows:
- Scattered thoughts
- Dull or dazed feelings
- Heavy eyelids or persistent blinking
- Delayed reaction time
- Lack of concentration
- Mental fogginess
During the condition, the driver may be changing lanes without realising it. The passengers, however, may witness glassy eyes or a blank expression on the driver’s face when they go through highway hypnosis.
Possible Causes of Highway Hypnosis
Highway hypnosis is related to tiredness but that is not the only cause. Worn-out drivers are more likely to experience the condition. Some other main causes of highway hypnosis are as follows:
One major cause of highway hypnosis is monotonous roads. Repetitive routes, unappealing sceneries, and dull environments can all contribute to the zoning out phase. You may not need to drive for a long time to see driving hypnosis kick in, the monotonous roads can cause the condition in a short time.
Careless or inattentive driving can also cause accidents. This is where defensive driving techniques can come in handy. However, with highway hypnosis, the drivers zone out without realising it. An inattentive brain can also lead to this condition.
While driving on repetitive roads for long durations, the brain tends to rely less on retinal feedback and more on visual predictions. This can switch the brain to less alert mode and can be lethal in most cases.
Fatigue is one of the major causes of driving hypnosis. Monotonous roads can also contribute to drowsiness – leading to a less alerted brain. Either way, monotonous surroundings and repetitive sceneries can put a person into trance mode without them even realising it.
Fatigue can get worse if one continues to drive under such a condition. Additionally, a tired driver may fall asleep during the ride – putting their and the passenger’s safety at risk.
Ways to Avoid Highway Hypnosis
The UAE government takes a keen interest to ensure a safe driving environment. The government has taken several steps to ensure road safety. For instance, Dubai road safety initiatives and the introduction of the Dubai Police App among many more increases safety awareness and provides aid.
While the government is doing their best to ensure driving safety, the onus also lies on the drivers to play their part. For instance, there are several effective ways you can avoid highway hypnosis. The methods are listed as follows:
- Stay hydrated
- Listen to various kinds of music during the drive
- Take drinks such as coffee and tea to avoid sleepiness
- Keep a thorough check on the rearview mirror
- Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol
- Keep up a fine driving stance throughout the trip
- Avoid overeating during all trips
- Take different routes every now and then if possible
- Take regular breaks during long journeys and avoid driving for elongated periods
- Try and cover maximum distance during the day for longer trips
- Get a good and long sleep before setting off on long journeys
- Roll down the window
- Keep the car seat upright
- Turn off cruise control as this helps you concentrate and keep a track of the speed
Additionally, if you are stuck in traffic during the journey, there are some car sitting exercises to keep you active and prevent drowsiness.
Difference between Highway Hypnosis and Fatigued Driving
While both of these can seem similar, there is a major difference between them. In highway hypnosis, the subconscious mind takes control but it is not the case with fatigued driving.
In fatigued driving, you may fall asleep and lose control of the vehicle. This makes fatigued driving more dangerous and prone to accidents. Another difference is the state of mind. In highway hypnosis you go into a feeling of trance. Whereas in fatigued driving, there is a complete loss of consciousness as drivers usually fall asleep.
This was everything you needed to know about highway hypnosis symptoms and prevention. The condition can force the drivers to zone out during the drive without a recollection of what happened during the zoning out period. Highway hypnosis can cause accidents and put the driver and passenger safety at risk. It is also important to be aware of unofficial highway signals if you often travel on the highway.
You can follow the aforementioned tips to avoid driving hypnosis and ensure a safe and secure journey. Additionally, you should also be aware of the things to avoid after a car accident as this can keep you from getting in conflict with the law. Moreover, go through these night driving safety tips if you often travel after the sun sets down.
Modern vehicles come with several advanced safety features to provide a safe and sound ride. You can add one of the vehicles to your car collection. Check out these used cars for sale in the UAE and select the ones best suited for your needs.
Stay safe, follow the rules and stay tuned to UAE’s top auto blog for information about driving conditions and more.