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.


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  • 17 Comments
      AwolG5
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nice Skoda
        Andrew Pappas
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AwolG5
        Beat me to it. I seem to remember a TV show on the autobahn that said they added extra turns just to keep drivers engaged
        Adrian Elliot
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AwolG5
        Haha yeah. She be yawnin' at dat Škoda.
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      "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." Their "engineers" can't stop their cars from rusting or getting posted MPGs, I doubt their findings would be anything conclusive.
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is why I like Volkswagen cars. Because of the crappy engine design their check engine light keeps coming on every few minutes and prevents the driver from zoning out. On top of that those cars occasionally catch fire. Just the thought of getting burnt to a crisp keeps the drivers awake and alert.
      erzhik
      • 1 Year Ago
      They don't need to do a research. Highway hypnosis happens because of single, monotone speed limit of 65. Raise the limit to 80, people will become more aware.
      vvk
      • 1 Year Ago
      The only reason for this phenomenon is ridiculously unchallenging roads (no opposing traffic, superficially low speed limits, no curves, etc.) Raise the speed limit to 120 mph and this will automatically go away. If the driver is challenged and MUST pay attention constantly -- there will be no highway hypnosis.
        Astutent
        • 1 Year Ago
        @vvk
        The problem is the driver will always acclimate to the speed, and eventually be comfortable with every speed limit set. Remember right after you got your license and the 60 mph freeway limits were a little scary? Then got used to it shortly after? Same thing would happen if you raised the speed limit. I'll take my chances with the relatively safe roads now, as opposed to "challenging" careless drivers to keep them awake
      Jake
      • 1 Year Ago
      That picture is just ripe for a good photoshoping.
      me
      • 1 Year Ago
      Combat auto pilot why??? So I can count the minutes on a 10hr drive....I've never even swerved out of a lane. They must be talking about sleepy driving which is different from auto pilot
        Bernard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @me
        Autopilot is when you continue driving in a straight line "going through the motions" even when something unexpected happens, like a car merges into your lane. You are so zoned out that you don't even notice it when something unexpected happens, and that is is how you end up in an accident. Autopilot is bad.
      Frank James
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hypnotherapy sounds like it shares much in common with ASMR. ASMR relaxation is truly life changing. Life style changing. I find that the more I listen the more sensitive I become. There are great amsr'tists at http://www.asmrstudio.com
      Drakkon
      • 1 Year Ago
      I used to drive from St Louis to southern Wisconsin several times a month. Often at night. There were many times when I would get on the highway in Rockford IL and set the cruise control, then 'wake up' in Springfield IL and really have no recollection of anything that happened in between.
      adam1keith1980
      • 1 Year Ago
      Current Speed Limits * 1.5. Problem solved.
      jebibudala
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Nazis figured this out when they initially built the Autobahn.
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