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Have you ever lost track of time while driving? Did you reach your destination with no recollection of a long stretch of distance? For example, you had 40 Km to go, but you realised that your destination was just 5 Km away. You didn’t remember how and when you covered the 35 Km distance.

If you've ever experienced something similar, you're not alone. This state is called highway hypnosis. Highway hypnosis is a psychological state a person can experience while driving without interruptions.

In fact, many people are likely to experience highway hypnosis at least once in their lifetime while driving on a desolate road.

Check this post to learn about highway hypnosis.

What is highway hypnosis?

First described as “road hypnotism” in 1921, highway hypnosis is an altered mental state of a person while driving a vehicle on an empty stretch of road. Also known as white line fever, it occurs when the mind gets bored due to the monotony of the road, and the driver becomes less alert to the surroundings.

Simply put, the person keeps driving in a trance-like state where the brain is in auto-pilot mode, oblivious of retinal feedback. People don't realise they were under highway hypnosis until they snap out of it on missing a turn or reaching a place without remembering how they got there.

Is highway hypnosis and fatigued driving same?

Fatigued or tired driving can sometimes be the reason behind highway hypnosis, but they are not the same. Fatigue leads to a lack of concentration and sleepiness while driving. However, highway hypnosis mainly occurs due to monotonous driving conditions like driving alone on an empty road, similar landscapes, listening to repetitive music, etc.

How to avoid highway hypnosis?

Highway hypnosis can cause accidents, especially on long drives, which can cause major damage to your vehicle, affecting your finances hugely. A comprehensive car insurance policy can help cover vehicle damages and medical expenses if involved in an accident. However, it is best to take every precaution to avoid even remote possibilities of an accident.

Therefore, consider the following tips to avoid experiencing highway hypnosis.

• Get adequate sleep

You can find it difficult to focus while driving if you haven’t got enough sleep. Lack of sleep also leads to drowsiness. Therefore, the right amount of sleep is necessary before planning to go on a long drive.

• Take frequent breaks

Driving a long distance at the same speed without changing gears often leads to monotony and boredom, a major contributor to highway hypnosis. Therefore, ensure to take a break every one or two hours. Stop the car and stretch your legs. Have a cup of tea, relieve yourself, or grab a quick snack before resuming your journey.

• Keep talking

It’s always good to have some company while driving. Strike up a conversation with fellow passengers. If you’re alone, tune into the car radio channel and sing along with the songs. Talking to yourself can also be a great option.

• Avoid big meals

A big meal can make you feel drowsy for a while. So, avoid a large meal just before embarking on a long road trip. Instead, consume light snacks and fluids like juices, soups, etc. You can eat some more while taking a break during the journey.

• Pay attention to the driving environment

Keep changing your driving environment to break the monotony. For example,

1. Turn on the AC while beginning your journey. After a few hours, turn off the AC and roll down the window to get some fresh air.

2. Listen to energetic music.

3. Adjust the seat to have an upright driving posture.

Highway hypnosis is an old phenomenon occurring to drivers since the early days of driving. So, take every precaution to avoid experiencing one before it leads to a mishap.

Moreover, always drive with adequate car insurance coverage. You can check comprehensive car insurance online by visiting the official website of reputed insurance providers. Stay alert, stay safe, and enjoy your ride.

Disclaimer: The content provided is for education and informational purpose only, none of the information contained in our blog amounts to any form of opinion or advice. Please go through policy related documents carefully or consult an expert before making any insurance-related decisions.


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