Tips for Avoiding Highway Hypnosis
Have you ever been driving down the highway and all of a sudden you are 50 miles farther than you were without even realizing it? Or worse, driven past your exit?
You just fell victim to highway hypnosis.
Highway hypnosis, also known as white line fever, happens when you are driving along a similar scene for a long period of time that your brain checks out and you enter a trance-like, drowsy state. When you experience highway hypnosis, the different parts of your brain are not communicating with each other as quickly. According to some scientists, it is similar to when you are asleep so your reaction time is slower. This happens more frequently on sunny days when the weather is not something drivers have to worry about as much. With spring upon us and brighter days ahead, this can cause highway hypnosis to become more prevalent. This also opens up the possibility for missed exits, falling asleep at the wheel, and even crashes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 100,000 accidents happen a year because of highway hypnosis. Nothing is more important than safety. Teletrac Navman put out a list of the most dangerous jobs and truck driving was high on the list. It is very important to try and stave off drowsy driving, so here are some tips for avoiding highway hypnosis:
- Keep your truck cool
- Avoid using cruise control
- Sit up straight
- Avoid eating heavy meals before driving
- Fresh air is good for the mind: If you cannot get out of your truck, even just lowering the window and letting the air hit you will wake up your fog.
- Shift your eyes over the road frequently: Looking in one direction is what starts the process of zoning out. Periodically shifting your gaze over the road will keep your brain engaged.
- Get enough sleep the night before
- Exercise: when stopped, getting out and walking around can rejuvenate the mind and wake you up.
- Keep an eye on the medication you use and ask your doctor if it could make you drowsy
- Try singing along with your music
- Switch up your entertainment: If you usually listen to music, trying listening to an audiobook or podcast that will keep you tuned into the present.
Singing and the radio is last on the list because while it can keep you engaged, it can also be a distraction or not hold your interest. Nothing on this list is more important than getting a good night sleep beforehand. No matter the tips you use to avoid highway hypnosis, it is most critical to listen to your body to figure out what it needs to keep you alert and safe to drive. What are some ways you stay alert on the road?