What Is Highway Hypnosis & How Can You Avoid This Driving Syndrome? All You Need To Know

by Tooba Shaikh
What Is Highway Hypnosis & How Can You Avoid This Driving Syndrome? All You Need To Know

Recently, a group of students from the transport department of the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology investigated the cause of frequent accidents occurring on the Samriddhi Highway between Mumbai and Nagpur. Speculated causes varied from speeding to bursting of tyres, but none sufficed. They then settled upon ‘Highway Hypnosis’ as an answer. This phenomenon is all too common in drivers. Heck, you might have experienced it too, if you regularly drive a car.

Highway Hypnosis: What Is It?

highway hypnosis
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You might have recounted stories to your friends of when you were driving and suddenly found yourself at your destination with absolutely no recollection of how you drove there. We think of such instances as our brains going on autopilot mode. Highway Hypnosis is nothing more than this state of altered consciousness where your brain is in autopilot mode.

There are many reasons why your mind can lose focus while driving. The number one reason is that your mind hates monotony. Ubiquitous roads and sceneries merge into one in order to save mental activity and space. When the monotony continues for longer periods of time, your brain tunes it all out.

Your attention, quite literally, leaves the chat. Since you are no longer actively participating in driving, you zone out and your brain goes to autopilot. You’ll notice yourself zoning while doing many other repetitive activities like sewing, listening to music, or folding your laundry. In most cases, this wouldn’t be a major concern. But when driving, being alert is of the essence or else, it can lead to tragic mishaps.

Also Read: It Was All Yellow! Sunflowers Blooming Near National Highway 766 In Variyad Is Luring Visitors

How Can You Avoid It?

highway hypnosis
Image Credits: Canva Images

Since this happens when your brain gets too used to the environment around you, this means that disrupting the monotony is key. Try listening to upbeat music while driving or interacting with the people in your vehicle. You can also try checking your rearview mirror to make sure your mind is active and paying attention.

Maybe Robert Frost was talking about highway hypnosis when he wrote ‘The Road Less Taken’ but travelling on routes that you aren’t very familiar with is also an excellent way to keep alert since your mind isn’t used to it yet. Avoiding alcohol, overeating and reclining your seat too far back are also ways to ensure you don’t zone out.

Also Read: Mumbai-Pune Highways: 6,000 Booked For Not Wearing Seatbelts In Last 5 Months

Have you ever experienced this freaky phenomenon? Let us know in the comments below!

Cover Image Credits: Canva Images