Holding Breath / Closing Eyes When Going Through Tunnel

In the hometown where my informant is from, there are multiple tunnels on different roads which pass through mountain peaks. These roads are those found in the canyons to get from the hometown to the beach. To this day, whenever my informant passes through these tunnels they hold their breath and close their eyes as part of the superstition. Every passenger of the car must close their eyes and hold their breaths in order to receive good luck, where if you open your eyes or release your breath before the tunnel ends, then you will receive bad luck. The driver is the exception where they must only hold their breath, for obvious safety reasons. 

I was able to trace this superstition back to the trucking community. Within the trucking community, tunnels can symbolize the numerous challenges and uncertainties faced on the road. These might include the physical dangers of navigating large vehicles through confined spaces, the monotony of long-distance travel, or the psychological toll of isolation. The practice of holding one’s breath as one drives through a tunnel becomes a ritual of passage, a moment of solidarity with fellow drivers, and a way to assert control over the journey’s unpredictability. This act can also be seen as a form of protective magic or superstition. Taken as a small ritual performed to ensure safe passage through what might be perceived as a vulnerable or liminal space. It ties into broader human traditions of invoking luck or protection when faced with potential danger, especially in situations where one has little control.