After an on-road experiment of sharing hot black coffee with drivers to keep them alert against fatigued night drives, the police are trying to move one step closer to a scientific mode of action plan that can mitigate late-night road accidents through an aggressive virtual awareness campaign.
The latest initiative aims at creating awareness about highway hypnosis, a dangerous situation in which the driver zones out or drifts away in a trance during a long monotonous night journey and ends up in a dangerous collision.
“This is an auto-pilot mode phenomenon where the driver actually falls asleep. The only difference is that his or her eyes will be open. All drivers, irrespective of their road experience, are prone to the state, which is also known as white line fever,” said an Assistant Commissioner of Police who is now part of the State-wide virtual campaign. The correction of driving posture is the first step towards an alert driving, he points out.
The police campaigners, who are now active with the message on official social media pages and field-level drives, explain that solo drivers and those having insomnia, sleep apnea, and arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) are more vulnerable to highway hypnosis. Foodies, who eat a lot before long night drives, and those who listen to frequently heard music can also think of altering their lifestyle for a healthy journey, they added.
Social media posters
The social media posters of cops have been well-received by the public as more than 6,500 people have already shared it. However, critics point at the official apathy in repairing roads, solving issues such as obstructed visibility and poor lighting.
“The increased number of rumble strips on our highways is one of the effective interventions,” said a senior police officer with the highway patrol squad. He also points out that the strips can create a vibration and a rumbling sound to keep sleepy drivers alert.