Highway hypnosis creates a hypnotic, trance-like effect on commercial truckers who drive long hours and distances.
Dangers of Highway Hypnosis
Highway hypnosis is a real problem that impacts many commercial truckers. It falls under the general umbrella of drowsy driving, a common problem within the trucking industry that causes more than 100,000 accidents in the U.S. each year.
Highway hypnosis occurs when a driver falls into a type of hypnotic trance behind the wheel. The condition relaxes the brain and creates a hypnotized state of mind. Cognitive functions fall short, while motor skills continue to work normally. Highway hypnosis is also known as “white line fever” named after the white lines that distinguish traffic lanes on roads and highways.
Although any driver can experience highway hypnosis, it’s most commonly seen in commercial truck drivers who spend long hours on stretches of highways with mundane, repetitive scenery. When a trucker driver is lulled into a hypnotic state behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound truck, an accident is likely to result in fatalities. Most accidents seen by truck injury attorneys cause catastrophic injuries or death due to the weight and size of the truck.
Preventing Highway Hypnosis
Since highway hypnosis impacts the brain like drowsy driving, there are things a driver can do to increase mental stimulation while behind the wheel.
Maintain Cooler Temperatures
A warm environment promotes fatigue and sleepiness while driving by decreasing hydration and blood pressure. Warm temperatures inside an 18-foot semi-truck often leads to a drowsy truck driver and a fatal crash.
Take Frequent Breaks
Under federal laws, commercial truck drivers are required to take rest breaks while on the road. During a rest stop, getting out of the truck and moving around will decrease drowsiness by increasing mental stimulation, blood flow, and oxygen to the brain, even if movement is limited to a few minutes.
Avoid Heavy Meals
Heavy meals make the bodywork overtime to digest food. This process creates feelings of drowsiness, especially when meals are filled with carbohydrates like bread and pasta. Since many truckers eat meals on the road, healthier, lighter meals containing fresh vegetables and fruits are a safer option.
Listen to Music
To prevent drowsiness while driving long distances, it is important to increase mental stimulation. Most commercial truckers have a well-equipped audio system with music, CD players, and talk radio stations. When feeling drowsy, it’s time to use it to boost mental stimulation.