You pull into your parking spot at the store and put the car in park. Then you just sit there, and you’re suddenly shocked. How did you get to the store? You knew that’s where you were going, but you have absolutely no memory of most of the drive there. You remember leaving your house, and now you’re in the parking lot.
This has probably happened to you at some point, and it can be unnerving. It is called highway hypnosis. It’s where a driver essentially zones out while driving, so they just don’t have any memory of that trip. It may be more common on roads that you are used to driving consistently, where they feel familiar and so it takes less cognitive focus.
Is it dangerous?
Whether or not this is dangerous is an interesting question. There are those who say that hypnosis is not nearly as dangerous as distracted driving. The argument is that the person who isn’t creating memories of their drive is still fully mentally engaged with that drive at the time, so they are not more likely to cause an accident. It doesn’t technically matter if you remember your drive to the store, as long as you don’t cause a crash on the way there.
On the other hand, there are those who say that daydreaming is the top cause of distracted driving accidents in the United States. Yes, highway hypnosis is a bit different than daydreaming, but it does show that any sort of mental distraction can be a major problem.
Have you been injured?
You may not have caused an accident in this example, but people do get injured in distracted driving accidents every day. If this happens to you, be sure you know how to seek financial compensation.