Highway Hypnosis Becomes Latest Worry in Distracted-Driving Fight | Edmunds.com
ADVERTISEMENT

Highway Hypnosis Becomes Latest Worry in Distracted-Driving Fight


ADVERTISEMENT
Just the Facts:
  • Engineers at the Hyundai-Kia Technical Center and the University of Michigan will launch a study aimed at preventing the problem of "highway hypnosis."
  • "You start zoning out and your reaction time slows down," said Joshua Maxwell, an ergonomics engineer at Hyundai-Kia Technical Center, in explaining this latest element of distracted driving.
  • The Korean automakers will work on warning systems to prevent highway hypnosis.

SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Michigan — Engineers at the Hyundai-Kia Technical Center and the University of Michigan will launch a study aimed at preventing the problem of "highway hypnosis."

"About one hour into a long drive, typically on a highway with a straightaway, you start zoning out and your reaction time slows down," said Joshua Maxwell, an ergonomics engineer at Hyundai-Kia Technical Center, in explaining this latest element of distracted driving to Edmunds on Monday. "Your brain goes into an auto-pilot phase."

When a driver is in this mental state it is possible to travel many miles with little recollection of having consciously done so.

The Korean automakers will work on warning systems to prevent highway hypnosis. The study begins in two weeks using volunteer students from the University of Michigan.

Engineers from Hyundai-Kia and the school will measure brainwave activity using electroencephalograph or EEG sensors to determine the early onset of driver drowsiness.

"Current methods of detecting driver drowsiness are noting changes in head position and eyelid activity, both of which require a longer time to determine potential danger," said the two partners in a statement.

Maxwell said the engineers haven't come up with a specific warning system for cars yet.

"It could be visual, audio or haptic," he said. "It might be the coffee cup icon, which is familiar to most people (as a drowsy-driving alert)."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 3,331 people were killed in distracted-driving-related accidents in 2011 and approximately 387,000 were injured.

Edmunds says: Drivers are about to get a new wake-up call thanks to this study.

Comments

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    I dread to think of the percentage of drivers who have suffered from this at some time. I confess that something like this has happened to me a couple times when I was very tired. I work with a chronic sufferer who gets it very badly at night. She and her husband told us to never let her drive us back from remote location after dark unless we really wanted to experience a single vehicle rollover in the NV desert.

Leave a Comment
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

New Car Reviews and Road Tests

ADVERTISEMENT

Get Pre-Approved for a Car Loan

up2drive

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan


Car.com

Credit Problems?
We can help you get Financing!

ADVERTISEMENT
Have a question? We're here to help!
Chat*
Chat online with us
Email
Email us at help@edmunds.com
*Available daily 8AM-5PM Pacific
Phone*
Call us at 855-782-4711
SMS*
Text us at ED411