Here in Maine, we are all pretty well-versed in the dos and don'ts of highway driving. You must always obey the speed limits and steer clear of distractions like phones.

But have you considered the phenomenon of highway hypnosis? You may be experiencing it without even realizing.

I suspect I may be experiencing it myself. Every day, I make the commute to the radio station for the Morning Show. This consists of a 30-minute journey along a straight, uneventful highway with not many bends or turns in sight. So, the sameness of my trip can become daunting.

Except for those occasions when I'm traveling through a brutal winter storm and I have no choice but to stay completed focused, there are times when the monotony of the trip can lead me to drift off.

Now, I don't fall asleep or let my bored behavior affect my driving, but I also had no idea there was a title for this: Highway Hypnosis or White Line Fever. And this is much different than drowsy driving.

What is Highway Hypnosis

According to the Driving Guide, "highway hypnosis can make you feel sleepy and unaware of the traffic around you. Highway hypnosis is caused by the sameness of the road and traffic."

This next point is very telling because it's something we don't think of. It's more of a subconscious thing that takes place when we are unaware. The report goes on to say that the constant hum of different elements like the wind, tires, and engine only enhances the hypnotic effect.

According to drive safe online, recent studies on hypnotism have shown that drivers experiencing highway hypnosis aren't actually asleep, but instead, they enter a state of hyper-focus, deeply connected to their subconscious responses.

I also am on the road very early in the morning, which means it's normally dark when I travel. So if you have a monotonous drive during dark hours like me, make sure that you aren't getting pulled deeply into highway hypnosis.

How to Avoid Highway Hypnosis

To prevent highway hypnosis, it's so important to keep your eyes active, scanning the traffic, and observing the highway signs. If you are feeling sleepy, pull over and don't risk falling asleep at the wheel.

Here are some tips, according to Drive Safe.

  • Avoid driving during your "sleeping hours"
  • Engage your passengers
  • Keep your eyes active
  • Stop every few hours
  • Switch up your route
  • Cool off the inside of the car
  • Avoid cruise control

Here are a few additional ways to help you stay alert behind the wheel while driving in Maine, according to Drive Safe.

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