Road hypnosis can be just as deadly as falling asleep behind the wheel. From a physical standpoint, they are very similar. Road hypnosis occurs from staring too long at the highway, especially if the highway is painted with a broken white line. Staring at these oncoming lines can induce the brain to enter a trance-like state. This hypnotic effect can either lead directly to an accident or it can put you to sleep, which will most definitely lead to an accident.
In order to prevent road hypnosis while driving, it is important to shift your focus every few minutes. Occasionally glancing at an object of a different depth will prevent hypnosis. For instance, you can take a look at an object in the distance, or an object within the interior of the car. Temporarily shifting your depth of vision is a great way to keep focused and mentally alert not only while driving, but also during any activity that may become monotonous and tiring. When you start to feel the onset of road hypnosis, quickly glance at a faraway object like a mountain or a building, and then quickly glance at a nearby object, like your dashboard clock or your radio, and then return your eyes to the road. You will immediately feel more awake and alert.
Another way to prevent road hypnosis is through sensory stimulation. You can occasionally turn the air conditioner on full blast, or turn on the radio. If the radio is already on, switch from music to talk radio. By keeping your senses stimulated, you will remain alert and focused. Blinking rapidly, as well as quickly crossing and uncrossing your eyes, can also help keep you alert.
Since road hypnosis usually occurs at night on straight highways with white lines, it may also be wise to change your routes and your driving habits. Simply avoid driving late at night on straight highways and you will avoid road hypnosis. Avoid driving long distances when you are already tired, since it is harder to be hypnotized by the highway when you are fully awake. You can also avoid the broken white lines by taking a two-lane highway or a scenic road, where there are likely to be fewer straight stretches. Driving a more winding route at slower speeds may add a few minutes to your drive time, but it’s a small price to pay for avoiding a potentially deadly accident.