Don’t Get White Line Fever: How Truckers Avoid Highway Hypnosis
When you think about hypnosis, does it usually involve a slowly spinning crystal on a chain, soft words for lulling you to sleep, or deep questions to answer during your drowsy trance? At least that’s the way it is in the movies.
In real life, however, hypnosis commonly involves vehicles and monotonous stretches of highway. Highway hypnosis, also known as white line fever, is the state of zoning out while driving. Picture this: You and your big rig are on a long haul through a stretch of asphalt that looks the same mile after mile. You’re on autopilot, barely aware of your surroundings and coasting along without a jolt.
You arrive at your destination and suddenly realize that you don’t remember most of your journey. Your mind is a complete blank. It’s as if you were driving under hypnosis. Essentially, you were. Let us tell you why that’s dangerous.
Eye-Opening Statistics on Drowsy Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 100,000 police-reported crashes involving drowsy driving occur annually. Those accidents result in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in costs.
While driving hypnosis, or you can also call it road hypnosis, isn’t literally falling asleep, it might as well be. Sure, you’re likely to stay in your lane, keep your distance from other vehicles, and even maintain a safe speed, but your senses aren’t as alert. That means you may not react swiftly and strategically to sudden changes in the traffic pattern, which can be the difference between preventing an accident and causing one.
How to Avoid Highway Hypnosis
So, how can you avoid highway hypnosis? Some tips are obvious, while others might be surprising.
- Feel the cool breeze – That could be wind from the open windows or the AC. Either way, keep it cool. Cold air shocks your senses and wakes you up.
- Play the tunes loudly – They’ll keep you humming and keep your spirit singing. Hey, go all karaoke behind the wheel. That means you are alert.
- Read and read some more – Read the billboard signs you pass. Read the street signs you drive by. Read the license plates around you. Reading keeps the brain busy.
- Pop in a stick or two – Chewing gum, sugar free, of course, keeps your mind alert. Grab different flavors and alternate so you give your taste buds a zing, too.
- Sit up straight – Driving a truck for hours and hours can do a number on your body, especially your lower back. Check on your posture frequently.
- Snack wisely – Avoid the sugar, fat, and salt of vending machine confections. They’ll just make you more sluggish in the long run. Snack on fruits, nuts, veggies, and hummus.
- Listen to an audiobook – Not only will it keep you listening, which means you remain alert, but you could learn something new. What’s not to like?
Remember to Take Breaks
All those tips for avoiding highway hypnosis are great. But the best remedy for white line fever is taking breaks. Get out of the truck for a while, stretch your legs, take a walk, enjoy the scenery, or take a refreshing power nap. It’s all about making sure that you drive that big rig on manual pilot, not autopilot. You want to remember the traveling just as much as you do the arriving.
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