Have you tried to think after a long drive: "What really happened on the way here?" Then you may have driven the journey or at least part of the journey on 'motorway hypnosis'. It is not necessarily something that only occurs on long motorway journeys, it can happen on all roads, both long and short journeys. This can especially be experienced on trips you repeat often. It feels like the sense of time is gone.
Motorway hypnosis occurs when the driver 'zones out' while driving a motor vehicle, often driving a considerable distance without remembering having done so. It is not the same as fatigued driving, as a person may well drive automatically in a safe manner. It is a bit like driving in a trance and it tends to occur in monotonous environments such as on motorways and at times during evening and night driving, because there is not much going on in the traffic.
In highway hypnosis, you experience that you are driving on 'autopilot', but you do not do that if you are too tired when you are driving. In highway hypnosis, the subconscious mind can take over, but in driving with fatigue, that is an unlikely thing. Therefore, driving while tired is more dangerous than highway hypnosis.
When driving while tired, your reaction time to a change in scenario can be much longer than in highway hypnosis. You are less aware of the potential dangers in a tired driving condition. The trance-like state in highway hypnosis is mainly due to monotony, but in the case of being too tired, it is usually due to loss of consciousness.
Driving and being too tired must be avoided at all costs. It can lead to disaster. Avoid driving if you feel drowsy or too tired. You can gauge symptoms of tired driving before you get in the driver's seat, but highway hypnosis happens while you're driving.
There are certain things you can do to avoid this state of 'highway hypnosis'. Of course, you must not be too tired to drive. But when you drive, be aware by being active, alert and awake.
- Look in the mirrors often. -Look around the surroundings -Look at the lamps, petrol gauge - keep your eyes active. Avoid staring for long periods of time. -Make sure the temperature in the car is not too high so you don't get drowsy.