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How Does Highway Hypnosis Happen

How Does Highway Hypnosis Happen?

There are many ways that a car accident can take place. And according to Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, driver error is responsible for as high as 99% of all crashes that take place across the country. Distracted driving, speeding, running red lights, and drunk driving are all examples of avoidable behavior that cause accidents. But what happens when you are not actively engaging in reckless behavior but still driving in a dangerous manner? 

Sometimes when making a long trip where there is little visible stimulation or while making a regular trip like commuting to work each day, you may unwittingly zone out or lose active consciousness. The brain can go into autopilot and just cause your body to operate your vehicle even though you are not paying attention to your actions. This is called highway hypnosis and it happens more often than many people think. If you have ever pulled up to your desired location but forgot the entire trip and didn’t remember driving there, you could have had highway hypnosis.

Not fully paying attention to the road puts everyone at risk of being injured in a car accident. When a crash happens in Florida, victims that were harmed may be able to file a Florida car accident claim to get the compensation they need to cover all of the costs of their damages. For more information on personal injury claims in Florida, the Jacksonville car accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates can help.

How Can a Driver Suffer Highway Hypnosis?

How Does Highway Hypnosis HappenWhen a driver loses active consciousness their brain can take over and dictate their body’s actions. This is essentially what happens with highway hypnosis. The driver is not thinking about everything that is happening around them but they are still operating their automobile. They are using their turn signals, they are slowing down and speeding up, they are taking turns, and more. This is all taking place without the driver actually thinking about what they are doing.

Highway hypnosis can be fleeting. For only minutes, a driver may go into a subconscious state before snapping out of it and realizing what they have just done. Other times, highway hypnosis can be sustained and last hours. 

No matter how long highway hypnosis lasts, it is incredibly dangerous. Driving is an activity that requires full attention and alertness. Anything can change on the road, from weather conditions to traffic patterns, animals can dart out into the road, and more. Drivers have to be ready and prepared for these things so they can respond appropriately and hopefully, avoid a crash. 

However, when a driver is in a hypnotic-like state, they are less able to quickly adjust and react to their changing environment. Highway hypnosis is similar to distracted driving because the mind is just making the body go through the motions but it is not concentrated on what is actually happening. A driver experiencing highway hypnosis is likely to miss road signs, and not see and notice other drivers, or pedestrians. Smaller vehicles like motorcycles which are already less visible than passenger sedans are put at increased risk in these instances.

How to Prevent Highway Hypnosis?

The best-case scenario of highway hypnosis is a driver that is able to get to their location without harming themselves or others. Then, realizing what happened they should take active steps to ensure that the next time they get into their car they are attentive.

Some ways to keep the mind from suffering highway hypnosis include:

  • On long trips, trade-off driving with others.
  • Make sure to be well-rested before driving.
  • Listen to music that is enjoyable and lively.
  • Keep the windows down to let in cool air.
  • Do not drive very late at night or very early in the morning if possible.
  • Stop to take a nap or get a bite to eat when possible.

Who Is Most Affected by Highway Hypnosis?

Anyone can drive their car and then draw a blank in the midst of driving. But there are some individuals that are more prone to having this happen. Those who have longer commutes to and from work where there is slow-moving, heavy traffic may find themselves suffering from highway hypnosis more often than those that have short, quick commutes. Professional drivers like truck drivers who have to be in their trucks for many long trips each day can also be more vulnerable to settling into a subconscious state while working.

Aside from taking action while one drives to avoid highway hypnosis, getting a good night’s rest each night can keep people performing at optimal levels each day.  Sleep is very important to functioning and keeping the brain sharp for daily activities like driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that getting anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep each night is ideal. To help restful slumber, consider the following good sleep habit tips:

  • Do not eat heavy or spicy foods before bed.
  • Limit liquid intake before bed to reduce bathroom trips.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use tobacco.
  • Do not take stimulants and put the cutoff time for drinking coffee.
  • Put away tablets, phones, and other light-emitting devices.
  • Keep the bed comfortable and hygienic.
  • Keep dim to a dark environment that is quiet. Or if you sleep better with a low, soothing sound, sound machines can give you the right level of noise to promote falling into quality sleep.
  • Limit disturbances during the night if possible.
  • Keep a routine with regularly going to bed at a certain time and then also getting up each morning at a specific time.

Getting enough sleep can keep the brain from wandering and increase a driver’s potential to focus on the task at hand which is driving. When a driver is drowsy, their reaction time is reduced, their ability to think clearly is limited, and they could experience emotional mood swings. This can affect a driver’s ability to safely operate their automobile. When a driver is not fully able to properly drive their car they can cause an accident that harms others. 

Victims of Florida car accidents can count on the sound legal guidance and support of the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates.

Speak to a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today

The damages that a victim can sustain include their own pain and suffering, the cost of medical treatment for injuries, missed wages from being unable to go to work, property damage costs, and more. To learn more about the value of your personal injury claim, please call the Jacksonville car accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates today to schedule a free consultation at 904-647-2296.