What Is Highway Hypnosis and Why Is it Dangerous?

Have you ever been behind the wheel and suddenly realized you don’t remember anything that’s been happening on the road? Maybe you’ve missed an exit without even thinking about it. It’s almost like you’ve been driving on autopilot.

Episodes like these can be caused by something called highway hypnosis or white-line fever. Highway hypnosis is an altered mental state. You can drive long distances in a seemingly safe manner while your mind is actually focused on things other than driving.

Highway hypnosis most often happens during long-distance trips. Mile after mile of “sameness” and a lack of traffic allow your thoughts to drift to other things.

How to Recognize White Line Fever/Highway Hypnosis

If you catch yourself doing any of the following, it’s probably a good idea to stop driving for a while. Any of these could make you a danger to others:

  • Missing exits and turns
  • Suddenly realizing you have no recollection of what you’ve seen in the last few minutes
  • Being startled by realizing that you haven’t been paying attention
  • Daydreaming
  • Wandering across the white lines or onto the shoulder
  • Feeling a mental fog or having trouble concentrating

You have a higher risk of highway hypnosis if you haven’t been sleeping well lately in general. Other risk factors include taking certain medications, driving at night or working extra long hours.

Can a Negligent Driver Use Highway Hypnosis as a Legal Defense?

Given the wide open spaces and long distances people drive in Texas, highway hypnosis is not uncommon here. Those afflicted by it do cause auto accidents that leave others injured or dead.

In Texas and in other states, at-fault drivers cannot use highway hypnosis as a defense. Every driver has a duty to drive as safely as possible and follow the traffic laws. Part of that duty is to realize when you’re struggling to concentrate. When you are, you need to do something about it, perhaps simply pulling over to rest.

Talk to a Dallas Car and Truck Accident Lawyer About Your Injuries

Have you or someone you love been injured in a motorcycle, car or truck wreck in Dallas or East Texas? Reach out to Ted B. Lyon & Associates. Our personal injury attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for clients over the years. We’ll do our best to get you compensation for medical care, disability and any other harms you’ve suffered.

Arrange a free initial consultation to discuss your situation by calling 877-Ted-Lyon or sending us an email.