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How to Prevent Highway Hypnosis

Nicks J
Highway hypnosis is a trance-like state that arises due to the monotony felt while driving on long, boring highways. One part of the brain remains alert while driving, whereas the other part is in a state of unconsciousness. Here are some strategies to prevent highway hypnosis, which you may find useful.

When to Start

Beginning your highway sojourn at the break of dawn, when the mind is calm and energetic, can help you stay fresh, sharp, and alert for most part of the day.
Highway hypnosis is a mental state in which a person driving a vehicle demonstrates a lack of awareness. Also referred to as drowsy driving, this usually happens on long highway drives wherein there is a decline in mental alertness.
While driving, the person appears dazed staring at the road, and when the destination is finally reached, he/she is unable remember the exact route taken during the drive or how he/she managed to reach the destination. So, although the person is driving, he/she appears mentally detached from the surrounding environment.

Dealing with Highway Hypnosis

If you don't want to enter an altered state of consciousness, avoid heavy meals during your highway sojourn. Having elaborate meals prior to driving can make you feel drowsy, increasing the risk of highway hypnosis.
Avoid Elaborate Meals
On the other hand, a light meal will help you to remain alert while driving and prevent you from falling into that road trance.

Shift Your Gaze

Don't stare at the road like a zombie while driving. This habit of keeping your eyes inactive can make you prone to highway hypnosis. So, shift your eyes frequently and look at the surrounding landscape. However, this certainly doesn't mean that you should be diverting your attention or losing focus while driving.
A sleep-deprived person in the driver's seat is vulnerable to that scary feeling of 'drowsy driving'.
Get Adequate Sleep the Night Before
So, getting enough "shut eye" prior to your road trip is very important to avoid highway hypnosis. A minimum of 6 to 7 hours of sleep is necessary before beginning your highway trip.

Halt in Between

While driving for a long distance, make it a point to take a break at regular intervals, at least every two hours.
Walking for 5 to 10 minutes during the break can refresh your brain, help stretch your muscles, and get you ready and refreshed to drive again.
Tune in to your favorite radio destination or plug in your iPod on a long drive. Listening music can help you steer clear of drowsy feeling.
Turn Up the Music
However, if you listen to soft music, there is a high probability of falling asleep. So, make sure you listen to upbeat tracks that keep you alert throughout your trip.
Going with a friend who can drive gives you the opportunity to take a break from driving. Also, there will be no need to stop the vehicle at unknown spots and put your safety in jeopardy.
Avoid Driving Alone
Instead, switching from the driver's seat every couple of hours can help you relax, thus, preventing you from zoning out. Another plus point of having someone for company while driving is that you can play mental games, like testing your memory, recalling conversations, etc. In short, the more you do for yourself, the sharper your mind will be.
Your posture should be erect and upright whenever you are on the driver's seat to prevent driver fatigue and the subsequent highway hypnosis.
Drive with an Erect Posture

Roll Down the Windows/Turn the AC

Well, if you want to feel fresh, comfortable, and alert while driving, ensure that the vehicle is well-ventilated. An air-conditioned system (adjusted to a high setting) installed in your vehicle keeps you from feeling drowsy. However, during winters, you may just roll down the windows and get yourself some fresh air to keep you alert while driving.
Feeling tired, sleepy, and dizzy while driving is an indication of sleep deprivation. To avoid this, park your vehicle on the side of the road, take a 15-minute power nap and wake up refreshed and recharged.
Take a Power Nap
In the end, it's required that you be honest with yourself. If your body signals to you that a power nap is not going to help, then find a motel room or just park at a safe place and sleep in your car. You may fall behind in your schedule, but that's much better than falling asleep behind the wheel and meeting with an accident.