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What is highway hypnosis?

Accidents on Florida roadways occur at high rates, and highway hypnosis might become a factor. It is not distracted driving or drowsy driving, but it is an issue that leads to accidents all the same.

What is highway hypnosis, and is it preventable? Learn more about this phenomenon and some tips to stop it.

What is highway hypnosis?

Highway hypnosis occurs when a driver zones out and gets from one point to another without a concept of how. It happens on familiar drives where muscle memory takes over and navigates drivers without conscious thought.  Highway hypnosis occurs more on interstates than it does in residential areas. Drivers have less to look at on a highway drive versus those through neighborhoods making brain disengagement easier.

Can a driver prevent highway hypnosis?

Drivers can solve some of the most common causes of crashes, such as drowsiness and distraction, by getting more sleep and putting away whatever draws their attention from the road. However, highway hypnosis is harder to stop because it is neither intentional nor entirely preventable.

There are some things drivers can stop doing that can help. Using cruise control can disengage a driver’s foot from the gas, and the brain from the task at hand much like turn-by-turn navigation can. Instead of allowing the car to do all the work drivers can become more deliberate. Relying on their memories to navigate is an excellent way to remain engaged and focused. Drivers can also avoid the same pathways and discover new routes to arrive at familiar destinations.

Keeping the brain engaged and in the moment can reduce instances of highway hypnosis. Otherwise, drivers may put others at risk for injury should they continue to drive without brain engagement.