Wait, what happened during the last 20 miles while you were driving? Whether you're driving on familiar highways and roads or not, we've all been there. All of sudden we're home or stopping at a stoplight and don't remember a thing.

Where did those miles go? You're fine so clearly you weren't running stop lights, at least you don't think you did. Did you use your blinker and stay around the speed limit? Who knows?

According to the Healthline website it's called highway hypnosis and it's when our brains slow down and are less alert because of the routine and monotony of the drive putting our brain into autopilot.

It's super scary after the fact, too.

florian steciuk
florian steciuk

It tends to happen more often on longer drives and especially on highways where scenery doesn't change much. You're not doing the stop and go thing and the speed limit is consistent.

It doesn't even have to be a familiar drive for highway hypnosis to happen according to the Learn About Hypnosis website.

It's a natural trance-like occurrence for all of us and there's nothing we can do about it.

That said, clearly this reduced, and even relaxed brain function can be dangerous because eventually drowsiness creeps in so here's what you should do according to Learn About Hypnosis.

  • Pull over at the next rest stop or gas station and take a break. Stretch and walk around. Grab some caffeine, too,
  • Make planned stops every few hours even if you don't think you need to and map out your overnight stay if necessary ahead time so you're only driving around eight hours.
  • Blast loud music or talk to someone on the phone.
  • Turn off cruise control.

While all of this seems obvious, the whole point of highway hypnosis is we don't even realize it happened until after the fact to prepare ahead of time.

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