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What is highway hypnosis, blamed for many fatal road accidents?, ET Infra

NEW DELHI: Road hypnosis has been blamed for many accidents on highways across the world. Road hypnosis is a condition in which the eyes of the driver are open but brain does not record and analyse what the eyes see. But many drivers are not aware of this condition. According to healthcare professionals, such a condition usually happens when one is on a long drive, especially through straight roads. It is usually caused when a person is driving on highway having monotonous scenery, no traffic light and little traffic

Recently, a Maharashtra state highway police attributed some of the accidents on first phase of Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway to highway hypnosis. A total of 39 persons have lost their lives and 143 were injured in accidents on the Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway since its launch in December 2022 till the end of April this year, according to officials. According to a Times of India report, highway officials plan to put up billboards, signages, posers, message board along the Samruddhi Expressway to keep drivers engaged through positive distractions which would not let them slip into highway hypnosis.

“Highway hypnosis lessens focus, and concentration leading to accidents,” says an official.

What does highway hypnosis feel like

According to the website of TATA AIG, which offers auto insurance, “Highway hypnosis occurs when individuals zone out while driving a vehicle, often travelling a significant distance without recollecting it. Experiencing highway hypnosis can zone out drivers for hundreds of miles or short distances.”

In case you abruptly realise that you have no memory of the last eight miles you drove, says TATA AIG website, “you probably were under the influence of highway hypnosis. Another sign that indicates experiencing highway hypnosis is noticing yourself drifting into the rumble strip or moving onto the next lane.”

How to prevent highway hypnosis
Experts advise against driving continuously without breaks or driving for long hours without proper sleep/rest. They advise drivers to take breaks every 2-3 hours, take walks during the break and have tea/food or talk to someone.

  • Published On May 27, 2023 at 07:54 AM IST

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