You're in the driver's seat on a long road trip when suddenly you realize you went way past your exit. But just a minute ago you thought you had 15 miles to go. Now you're 5 miles past it!
Turns out this concept of highway hypnosis, otherwise known as white line fever, has been known for a hundred years now. An article in 1921 described the phenomenon of driving in a trance-like state as "road hypnotism."
It's pretty scary when you snap out of it after an extended period of time. You wonder what harm you could have caused or could have happened to you.
Did I run stop signs or red lights? Did I safely pass people? What if I had gotten into an accident?!
Let's get to the bottom of why this is such a common occurrence, even for an experienced driver. We'll also offer some easy, common-sense solutions to help you avoid road hypnosis.
Drowsy Driving vs. Highway Hypnosis
What are the warning signs of Highway Hypnosis?
There are some clear warning signs that result from driving for a long period of time.
Feelings of being dazed, loss of concentration, slower reaction times, and wandering thoughts behind the driver's seat are tell-tale signs. Even more worrisome however is the feeling of sleepiness, with having heavy eyelids or blinking more than the regular amount.
You may connect that a lot of those symptoms cross over with brain activity of those who engage in drunk driving. Drowsy drivers who cause a car crash are just as liable for legal action in the United States as those under the influence.