Female car driver is yawning

Next up on the hot-button list of things that can kill you behind the wheel: "highway hypnosis." That's the zombie-like, autopilot phase you get into on a long highway drive when there isn't much to distract you, like curves or traffic. Digging further into what it is and how to combat it, Hyundai-Kia engineers and the University of Michigan are commencing a study that will measure brainwave activity in order to track the body's slide into highway hypnosis.

We're not sure how much overlap this has with Mercedes-Benz's Attention Assist, which tracks more than 70 in-car parameters to determine when you're not focused on the road anymore. That system is billed as an alarm against fatigue, in our experience it does more than that - if you use your phone while driving, for instance, it will chirp.

They don't know what form a warning system will take yet, but Hyundai-Kia plans to develop a method for warning drivers when they being to zone out. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than three thousand deaths and nearly 400,000 injuries due to distracted driving in 2011.