White Line Fever or Fatigued Driving

Ever gone hundreds of miles and realized you don’t remember a foot of it, stops, turns, etc? You’re driving as usual and suddenly you see a sigh informing you you have 80 miles to reach your destination. You don’t remember anything in between the previous sign and the next telling you you’re 20 miles away. Instead, you just have a gap in your memory for the route you took and your thoughts drift to other things. You just can’t recall a big part of your drive. It seems like you were mentally checked out. Truckers call it “white line fever” and it’s actually highway hypnosis.

American highway as a cause of white line fever

Understanding White Line Fever

Long-haul truck drivers know that it happens. In most cases, drivers reach their destination and get back home without any driving issues. However, it can be very dangerous and have fatal outcomes. Losing track of time might not be dangerous when you’re within your home walls but behind the wheel, it entails significant danger. Highway hypnosis presents a threat to other road participants.  

As stated by Mindset Health, “Highway hypnosis naturally occurs when your attention is occupied with things other than your driving. It might be a song on the radio, a review of something significant that happened at work that day, or anything else that you get absorbed in while you’re driving your car.  What’s fascinating is what highway hypnosis reveals about our mind’s ability to focus attention internally on our thoughts yet still maintain an external awareness of driving conditions in order to still drive safely.”

A semi-truck on a highway with potential white line fever

Highway Hypnosis and Fatigued Driving Are Not the Same Things

Another concern is that many truck drivers mistake highway hypnosis for tiredness or sleep deprivation. They can seem similar but are not quite the same. Fatigued driving is by far more dangerous. 

Drivers usually don’t make many traffic violations while on the road and they rarely crash. The real danger is unawareness of the speed at which they are driving. However, during fatigued driving, drivers are less aware of the potential dangers and they need more reaction time to the condition changes. 

Fighting White Line Fever Tips

Some tips for fighting white line fever are well known while others might surprise you:

✔️Drinking water regularly might improve your energy and mental performance. Water facilitates communication between brain cells, and removes toxins and waste that interfere with brain function.

✔️Use your AC or open the window. Being warm and cozy is nice, but the sudden cool breeze keeps you from experiencing road hypnosis or unconscious driving. Your body has to work harder to keep you warm when you’re cold and it keeps you alert at the same time.

✔️Crank up the music or play karaoke. Having fun will keep you conscious and alert. Forget about ballades, they can numb your mind. Instead, listen to something more upbeat. The auditory stimulation of the brain will keep you awake and conscious.

✔️If you are a fan of nice smells, use essential oils. They have been proven to stimulate your brain’s nervous system. Our choice is cedarwood or peppermint because of its energizing effect.

✔️Last but not least, chewing different- flavor gums will also keep your mind awake. It will trigger your brain to wake up and improve your ability to perform better. 

✔️Practicing regular breaks is the best remedy for white line fever. Take a break, stretch your legs and keep your brain awake. 

Make sure to be in full control while driving. Even though fatigued driving might cause much more harm than White Line Fever, it doesn’t mean it’s not risky. White Line Fever is usually caused by monotony on the road and a driver usually drifts to highway hypnosis from 15 minutes to an hour, and it’s enough time to predict it and practice some precautionary measures. Making sure you’re well-rested before the trip, might help you avoid a lot of problems if you know you’ll be traveling a long way, at night, or in bad weather.

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