How to Combat Highway Hypnosis

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Defensive Driving Tips

You get in your car, put your keys into the ignition, and the next thing you know you are at your destination. But how did you get there? Well, of course, you drove there, but you don’t remember ever changing lanes, turning, or stopping at any lights. If this sounds all too familiar, then you are suffering from highway hypnosis, otherwise known as driving without attention mode (DWAM). Highway hypnosis may cause you to question your sanity for a second, but then you probably continue on with your day not thinking much more about it. Well, it is time to start thinking about.

What is highway hypnosis?

Highway hypnosis is a serious condition that is potentially life threatening to you and the people driving around you. It is when half of your brain is doing the driving while the other half of your brain is literally zoned out. If your brain is not fully aware and alert when you are driving, it is almost impossible to have the stellar reflexes needed in the case of an accident.

What can I do about it?

Luckily, highway hypnosis is not some debilitating disease without a cure. It is simply a state of mind that is easily controllable. Being aware of your situation is the first step. The rest is easy.

 

    1. Frigidity is your friend. As nice as it is to be warm and cozy while you are driving, this only relaxes your body and your mind. Instead, turn the a/c on or roll down a window. While the goose bumps may not be fun, they may save your life.

 

    1. Have a dance party. Yep, that’s right. Put on some good tunes and have a little dance party with yourself. By keeping your body moving, you will keep your brain alert. So what if the car next to you thinks you are a little weird? If only they knew how much fun you were having.

 

    1. Phone a friend. This is not just a lifeline on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” It may also be your actual lifeline. Engaging in a lively conversation with a friend will keep your brain awake and responsive. However, it is important to only use this option if you have a hands-free headset or Bluetooth available.

 

  1. Make a pit stop. When all else fails, pull over. Get out of the car and move your body. This will reboot your brain so you can start your drive anew. It is always better to safe than sorry.
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