Successfully going through a commercial driving school and achieving your CDL license gives you the ability to hit the open road and enjoy the freedom of the American Spirit. Spending long hours on the road, though, can take its toll on the most sturdy drivers. Whether you’re driving a sedan or a semi, the effects of highway hypnosis can begin to affect anybody at the wheel. As the premier truck driving school in Modesto, Truck Nation School is here to prepare you for the hazards of the road. Our comprehensive driving programs deliver hands-on training that gives all of our students the education and tools needed to thrive in an exciting new industry. Today, we’ll look at what exactly highway hypnosis is and some simple tips for avoiding it in the future.
What Is It?
Highway hypnosis, or white line fever, is a state of mind that can occur when driving on the open road for long stretches of time. Essentially, the driver is able to control the vehicle while the rest of their mind is off taking a break. People have described this experience as a drowsy, spacey, trance-like state. Long periods of time spent staring at the road can lead to this hypnotic state. If you’ve ever been on a long road trip and commuted down a section of road without any memory of doing so, you’ve been plagued with highway hypnosis. While the brain is still taking care of driving functions, sudden changes in the road can lead to disaster. Your mind will be working slower in this trance state, reducing reaction times. For truck drivers, this can end disastrously! Driving with a large freight will require a longer distance to stop, meaning that CDL drivers need to pay extra attention to the road conditions. Often, the drowsiness associated with white line fever can lead to more sleepiness, increasing the risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
An article in 1921 first illuminated this concept that described the hypnotism that occurs when staring at a fixed point on the road. A 1929 study further examined this phenomenon by describing the possibility of drivers falling asleep with their eyes open. G.W. Williams introduced the term highway hypnosis in 1963, which soon created a theory that the altered state of awareness can create a hypnotic dissociation, where you have a split in consciousness. Essentially, the two levels of consciousness are occurring simultaneously, where one takes the wheel while the other focuses on a variety of other matters. Today, the effects and dangers of this occurrence are well documented.
This hypnotic state that may or may not be worrying you now can prove to be very hazardous on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there are over 100,000 crashes each year, resulting in over 1,500 deaths due to the negatives associated with drowsy driving. With such a shocking statistic, it should be obvious that driving when drowsy or under highway hypnosis is no joke!
While many people are aware of the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel, few fully know the dangers of highway hypnosis. In our next blog, we’ll look at a few tips that can help drivers of all experience levels stay alert and avoid the white line fever. If you are considering attending a CDL driving school, we can help! We are proud to be the top truck driving school in the Modesto and Fresno areas, offering a full experience for our students. From CDL classes for endorsements to job placement, our quality staff is here to help you start a new career. Contact us to learn more about our trucking school or to enroll today!