Why Do People Hold Their Breath When Going Through a Tunnel

Each culture has its traditions regarding cars. Some of these car traditions are calming, while others are simply bizarre. Whether you are a new driver or an experienced one, you probably have a unique way to celebrate when welcoming a new car home or other events on the road. Many car traditions are based on superstitions. It could be such a habit that you no longer even realize you are doing it. Have you ever questioned the origin or meaning, or meaning of these car rituals, like holding your breath through a tunnel?

Holding your breath through a tunnel: what does this car tradition mean?

A stone car tunnel with amber lighters inside.
Car tunnel | Getty Images

Vehicle superstitions are practiced all over the world. Rituals regarding cars are quite powerful, especially when there is underlying anxiety or fear, so you should not be surprised when you see some crazy happenings on the highways.

According to a recent survey conducted by car insurance marketplace Netquote, 35% of American men and 30% of American women hold their breath when driving through tunnels. According to the survey, holding the breath through a tunnel is one of the most common superstitions in America. Ranking in the second position is lifting one’s feet over a railroad or bridge.

People hold their breath when traveling through tunnels for many reasons. Some may do it to prevent bad luck. Most people believe that when you hold your breath while driving through a tunnel, anything you wish will be granted. Holding your breath for long can be terrible, especially for asthmatic patients, because they can’t do it for long.

According to CBS News, a young man in Washington fainted after holding his breath through the Highway 26 tunnel in 2014 leading to a serious road accident. This shows the danger of holding your breath when driving through a tunnel.

Other common car superstitions include raising your feet while approaching railroad tracks and tapping the roof of a new car. 

Raising your feet near railroad tracks

According to Naija Auto, this is another popular tradition whose origin remains a mystery. Some people believe raising their feet while driving a new car over a railroad track can bring them good luck.

Others say that you need to practice this ritual if you wish not to lose your love. Raising your feet, especially when you’re in the driver’s seat, can be a dangerous practice depending on the situation. You may fail to brake during an emergency or run off the road.

Tapping the roof of a new car

Another weird car tradition is tapping the roof of a new car after passing a yellow traffic light. Tapping the car may indicate gratitude for making it through traffic on the road without colliding with other cars. Some drivers even kiss the tips of their fingers before tapping the roof while driving through a yellow traffic light.

Although most people practice weird rituals on the road, they may not know their meaning. Some people will do them because they have seen their parents, family members, or friends practicing these superstitions. Whether these traditions are true or not, it’s a matter of debate but when doing them, exercise caution to prevent accidents or any other negative effects.

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