What is highway hypnosis?

I’m helping my daughter study for her driver’s ed test. However, there was one concept in her study guide that wasn’t around when I was younger: highway hypnosis. What exactly is highway hypnosis?

Eric Schad · Answered on Sep 30, 2022
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Highway hypnosis is an altered or trance-like state where a driver isn’t entirely focused on the road.
Your attention is significantly diminished in most cases of highway hypnosis, and drivers report short-term memory loss or automatically making lane changes, turns, or other driving maneuvers without any recollection. Highway hypnosis commonly happens on long stretches of the road or on lengthy road trips.
Symptoms of highway hypnosis include:
  • Slow reaction times
  • Drowsiness
  • A dazed or dull feeling
  • Blank facial expression
  • Scattered thoughts
To avoid highway hypnosis, try a few of these ideas:
  • Take frequent breaks on long road trips.
  • Drink a caffeinated drink.
  • Eat healthy snacks.
  • Engage yourself in a road trip game, listen to music, or turn on a podcast.
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