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Study on preventing highway hypnosis will begin in a few weeks

There's been a lot of hubbub over distracted driving in the last several years. The federal government and automotive manufacturers are all working hard to help keep drivers paying attention to the task at hand while cruising the streets and highways of our nation. Distracted driving can be attributed to a number of the highway fatalities around the country each year.

While distracted driving typically focuses on things like smartphones while driving, those aren't the only things to be concerned about when behind the wheel. The Hyundai-Kia Technical Center and the University of Michigan have announced they have teamed up to fight another problem facing drivers that they call highway hypnosis. Highway hypnosis is when a driver begins to "zone out" and their reaction time slows.

"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 Edmundson Monday. "Your brain goes into an auto-pilot phase."

We'd wager just about every driver has experienced this phenomenon when you realize you have traveled many miles with little recollection of actually having done so.
Both Kia and Hyundai plan to work on warning systems to help prevent highway hypnosis and are planning to begin a study in the next few weeks using volunteer students on ways to prevent the phenomenon. Engineers working on the study plan to measure brainwave activity using EEG sensors to help determine the early onset of driver drowsiness.

Engineers participating in the study haven't come up with a specific warning system for vehicles yet to help reduce highway hypnosis and say that it could be visual, audio, or haptic system.

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

Source: Edmunds

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RE: Depends where you're driving...
By JDHammer on 8/29/2013 12:42:02 PM , Rating: 2
how does dimming the dash help? Just wondering...

RE: Depends where you're driving...
By bah12 on 8/29/2013 1:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
easier to sleep, damn dashboard always waking me up. I find it best to crank up the heat, roll up the windows, and blast the lullaby channel.

RE: Depends where you're driving...
By Chaca on 8/29/2013 2:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if it's scientifically proven but I know for sure it helps me. Maybe the extreme contrast between light and dark causes eye fatigue. Try it one day but don't dim the lights to where you can't see your speed either ;-)

By Reclaimer77 on 8/29/2013 2:57:54 PM , Rating: 2
Pfft that's kids stuff. Here is the real highway hypnosis cure!

By spamreader1 on 8/29/2013 4:40:22 PM , Rating: 2
It helps in depth perception, not sure about awareness. It's an iris thing. Your iris's close with all the extra interior light polition a little, when there's less interior lights your iris's open as if in the dark, and make it easier to see farther with your headlights. Of course if you're in a busy city with tons of headlights already blasting you in the face it's a wash. If you live out in the sticks it's a huge benifit.

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