Also known as white line fever, highway hypnosis causes truck drivers to go into a trance-like state, increasing the risk of accidents. This can be dangerous for truckers, who can travel up to nine or 10 hours a day. This guide will discuss what highway hypnosis is, the signs and causes, and how to stay safe on the road.
What Is Highway Hypnosis?
Highway hypnosis is a condition in which a truck driver enters an altered mental state while traveling long distances. They may respond to external events, such as switching lanes or avoiding a pothole, in the correct manner but have no conscious recollection of doing so. Their mind is focused elsewhere, yet they’re still processing enough information to drive relatively carefully.
Daydreaming and spacing out during a trucking trip can be risky. A traffic accident is costly and dangerous, especially since trucks are so large and heavy.
What Are the Signs & Causes?
If you’re operating the vehicle and suddenly notice you can’t recall the last few moments, you could be experiencing a dangerous lull while driving. Additionally, watch for near misses of other trucks, cars, or cones, as well as drifting over rumble strips or highway lines. Finally, if you notice muscle soreness, you may not be adjusting properly to your seat as a result of daydreaming.
Many factors contribute to highway hypnosis. For example, feeling sleepy or fatigued can make it difficult for drivers to watch for hazards. Too much focus can also be problematic; a trucker may be in a rush to get somewhere, creating a tunnel vision-type situation. As a result, they may not pay attention to surrounding hazards. Finally, boredom can play a role, especially when the scenery rarely changes and there’s little speed variation.
How Can Truck Drivers Avoid Highway Hypnosis?
If you experience any of the signs discussed, pull over at a truck stop. A short nap can be helpful if you’re tired, and eating will provide more energy. Additionally, stretch your muscles, try some yoga, or take a walk to break up the long drive.
Before getting back on the road, turn up your radio, sticking to music with a lively beat. Also, lower the temperature, and point the air at your face. Keep in mind that warm air can make you more likely to space out and feel fatigued.
To avoid highway hypnosis, engage in defensive driving. Keep the eyes moving while paying attention to road hazards and other vehicles. Also, check the mirrors regularly and watch the weather conditions so you’re prepared for rain, snow, or heavy winds.
If you’re looking to become a truck driver, contact Hamrick School. Serving Medina County, OH, they’ve helped over 10,000 students enter the trucking field. They’ll assist you with every aspect of joining the industry, from getting your first job to staying safe on the road. Call (330) 239-2229 to speak to an admission officer, and head to their website to learn more about their programs.
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