How to Counteract Road Hypnosis

Road Hypnosis Makes My Heart LeapI have always loved to drive. I love road trips and I have been on some fun ones with my sisters and even my son. Last week, my husband, son, and I went on two different trips out of town and had a blast. However, every road trip I go on has the potential to make my heart leap because I have a strange side effect to driving on long trips (and sometimes fairly short trips)


From Wikipedia: Highway hypnosis, also popularly known as driving without attention mode (DWAM) or white line fever, is a mental state in which a person can drive a truck or automobile great distances, responding to external events in the expected manner with no recollection of having consciously done so.

I can be wide awake and have boat loads of caffeine in me and the air on, the windows down, the radio on…it doesn’t really matter…and I’m nodding off involuntarily. It is the scariest, strangest thing to happen to me and I have no idea when or why it is going to happen!! I have driven off the road and even totalled a car once from this, but as I have grown older and more aware, I have found ways to counteract this sleepiness – or hypnosis.

(1) Travel during times when you know you are more likely to be awake. {Unfortunately for me, I am more awake later in the day and sometimes more into the evening}

(2) Take lots of breaks, get out of the car and simply walk around. {This helps me a lot when I have begun a trip and realize part of the way in that I am going to be affected by hypnosis.}

(3) Cold air, Warm air, Radio on, Windows down, Passengers talking to you {These sometimes work for me, but I usually have to combine them with a different tactic.}

(4) Eat something crunchy and have a caffeinated drink. {This works best for me. I usually pick up some peanuts on my trip to crunch on and have a yummy Mocha coffee or Diet Coke with me.}

Whatever you decide to do, don’t drive faster or try to get somewhere in a hurry when you are afflicted with Road Hypnosis. Take your time and let your passengers know that you need them to keep you engaged and alert. {My husband is really great at this!}

Do you get Road Hypnosis and what do you do to counteract it? What makes your heart leap?



  1. Those are all good. The crunchy thing works best for me. Pretzels are my fave road food. Another thing that helps when night driving is turning down your dash lights as low as they can go. The glare from the dash light will tire your eyes and make you sleepy faster.

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