Long drives often evoke a sense of adventure, freedom and exploration. But one often overlooked aspect of embarking on such journeys is the risk of highway hypnosis, a state of mental fatigue and disconnection that can lead to decreased response times and potential accidents. Awareness of this condition is vital for all road trippers aiming for safe travels.
The phenomenon of highway hypnosis often sneaks up on drivers during long, monotonous stretches of highway driving. It typically occurs when the driver’s attention is not fully engaged, leading to a semi-trance state where one can drive considerable distances without conscious recollection. There are, however, steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
A well-rested driver is less likely to succumb to highway hypnosis. Before setting out on a road trip, ensure you have a good night’s sleep. Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
Frequent rest breaks help to keep the mind alert. Stop every couple of hours, or more often if necessary. Get out of the car, stretch your legs and refresh yourself.
Hydrate and nourish
Keeping yourself hydrated and well-fed is important. Dehydration and hunger can cause fatigue, which can lead to highway hypnosis. Carry water and healthy snacks for the journey.
Keep the environment stimulating
A comfortable temperature and fresh air can help keep the mind alert. Avoid setting the car’s temperature too high as it can cause drowsiness. Open a window occasionally for fresh air.
Engage your mind
Keep your mind active. This could be through listening to a podcast or an audiobook or enjoying some music. Just make sure it doesn’t distract you from focusing on the road.
If possible, alternate driving duties with another person. Sharing the driving load can help to keep each driver more alert and reduce the risk of highway hypnosis.
Highway hypnosis is a real and often overlooked risk for drivers embarking on long journeys. Take precautions as you prepare for your next drive.