Highway hypnosis is something that happens to every driver. Usually, when it does happen, you do not even know it until after. That feeling when you drive all the way to your destination and do not remember a second of it. You could drive from home to work and feel like you were only in the car for a few minutes. Sometimes you just zone out and all of a sudden, the drive is over. The drive becomes more muscle memory than anything else.
So, what exactly is highway hypnosis? It is defined as when a driver is driving on an open highway, for an extended period of time and go into a trance-like state. This is kind of similar to an auto pilot kicking in. Highway hypnosis is often referred to as white line fever because the white lines on the highway can cause a hypnotic effect on someone. What often happens with highway hypnosis is that the driver will arrive at the destination, and have no memory of the steps they took to get there. The length of time that that highway hypnosis lasts can differ. Sometimes it could last just as the driver goes through one light, or it could last throughout the entire length of the drive. When you get into this state while you are driving, your brain does not process what is happening on the road. This can be very dangerous because your reaction time is impaired. This is a form of distracted driving because this trance-like state can cause drivers to get into an accident very easily.
What causes highway hypnosis is how things become muscle memory to people. This is when you are so used to doing something, you are able to complete the activity without much thought put into it. Driving is one of these things. When you make a certain drive many times, such as your drive to work, you know exactly when to turn and stop. Everything becomes an automatic response and less of a thought process. Driving can become a second nature for you. You get used to everything that happens and how your car works. The highway hypnosis will come into play when all of these things happen. Once everything about your drive is second nature, highway hypnosis will happen inevitably.
So, what can you do to avoid highway hypnosis? There are some things that you can do to try to avoid this from happening to you. One major thing is that you should not drive when you are tired. This should be avoided for many reasons, but when you are tried and start to drive, it is very easy to zone out. You can only focus on how tired you are, and your thoughts about your driving go out the window. Another thing you should do is to try to have good posture in your seat while driving. You want to try to sit up as straight as you can so you can stay alert. Once you start to slump in your seat you will begin to feel too relaxed, and you will start to zone out. You want to stay as alert as possible. You can drive with the windows down, or play some upbeat music to keep your mind going. Highway hypnosis is a dangerous thing that happens when you drive. You cannot rely on the other drivers on the road to have the reaction time to make sure something bad does not happen on the road.
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