What is Highway Hypnosis and What Can You do to Avoid it?

This particular stretch of the highway always takes forever, you think to yourself, creeping slowly behind one of many other vehicles stuck in rush hour traffic. To your relief, you see your exit up ahead, about a mile away.

The constant pumping of your brakes and the accelerator pedal seems rhythmic, and you begin to space out from your surroundings. Before you know it, you missed your exit completely, and have no real idea why.

Highway hypnosis is a common phenomenon that occurs to drivers traveling on long trips. This is especially true of commercial vehicle drivers who spend a lot of their day in transit. A few seconds of negligence by a commercial truck driver can spell doom for others on the road.

The Louisiana truck accident attorneys at Cardone Law Firm want to bring awareness to this phenomenon so that you can become self-aware when you are doing it and correct it in order to keep yourself and other passenger vehicles safe on Louisiana’s roads and beyond.

What exactly is highway hypnosis?

Highway hypnosis is a phenomenon that has many names. Officially coined in 1963 by Griffith Wynne Williams in an article published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, highway hypnosis is a mental state in which a person can drive a significant distance without having any recollection of that particular part of the trip.

When experiencing highway hypnosis, your brain activity slows down. This can greatly affect your reaction time and ability to safely maneuver in traffic. Highway hypnosis is believed to be affected by drowsiness.

What steps can I take to avoid highway hypnosis?

Highway hypnosis may seem like a terrifying occurrence, but in truth, it’s a state of mind that can be easily controlled. Whether you’ll be taking a family trip during Spring Break or even later on during the summer, it is always important to remain vigilant while driving – especially around large commercial trucks.

Being aware of the phenomenon is your first step to combating it. Other methods include:

  • Get a full night’s rest: Before a long trip, make sure to get adequate amounts of sleep – at least 6 hours – to avoid drowsy driving. Highway hypnosis stems from tiredness, so ensuring that you get enough sleep will help to keep you aware.
  • Start early: If possible, begin your trip early on in the day. At that time, you are more alert and awake for a longer period of time than you would be in the afternoon. For those times when you have to leave in the afternoon, break it up into two parts with a break in between.
  • Keep the A/C on cold: Being warm and cozy may be best when lying in bed but not when navigating a vehicle at over 70 miles per hour. The cold air will keep you alert, despite the goosebumps and uncomfortableness you may experience during.
  • Turn on the radio: Listening to your favorite music can keep you energized. But if it has a low tempo, you may become too relaxed. Although you may hate it, pumping up the volume on a song you dislike is like an audio thumbtack preventing you from getting too comfortable.
  • Phone a friend: Engaging in a conversation with a friend can be just what you need to keep you from spacing out on the road, so long as you are abiding by the law and using a hands-free headset or Bluetooth. Having a lively conversation with a friend will keep the brain active and responsive.</li?
  • Sit straight: This slight posture change can do wonders for your back and neck but it can also keep your brain alert. Avoid slouching in your car chair. Adjust the headrest and the chair to keep your posture upright and turn off the seat warmers.
  • Get caffeinated or eat a snack: Caffeine can keep you awake in a number of ways. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors in the brain to fight sleepiness while increasing your metabolism and directing the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream – feeding the brain. On the other hand, eating a snack gives you a boost of energy while restoring your focus on the task at hand. However, eating and drinking while driving is considered distracted driving, so our New Orleans truck accident attorneys recommend doing so only while at a rest stop.
  • Make a pit stop: Don’t be afraid to stop when traveling long distances. Take the time to stop and get out of your vehicle for a breather and move around. This will reboot your brain so that you can continue your trip refreshed.

Remaining vigilant and aware on highways is especially important as your drive around large commercial trucks at high speeds.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler and need representation, contact the trustworthy New Orleans truck accident attorneys at Cardone Law Firm today.

Cardone Law Firm has over 40 years of experience taking trucking companies to court for refusing to give adequate compensation to those involved in an accident caused by their driver’s negligence. We have the resources and the know-how to combat against and defeat the big defenses that these companies hire.

Entrust your case with us today. Contact us at (504) 522-3333. Together, we will work to get the recovery you deserve.

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