Researchers to Study Highway Hypnosis

Alabama highway - Martinson & Beason, P.C.Have you ever pulled into your driveway after a long, familiar drive and realized you can’t remember getting there? If you have, chances are you just experienced “highway hypnosis.” But what is it?

A recent article in the Detroit News defines highway hypnosis as a “mental state in which a person can drive great distances without recollection of having consciously done so.”

It should be fairly clear why highway hypnosis can be a danger: when behind the wheel, all drivers should be alert and focused—not mindlessly going through the motions.

That’s why the University of Michigan and engineers from the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc. have decided to study this driving phenomenon.

The researchers will measure driver brainwaves using EEG (electroencephalograph) sensors. These sensors will be able to detect when the driver is becoming drowsy faster than current methods, which rely on following head position and eyelid activity. A physical and sound alert tied to the car’s onboard system could then wake the driver.

With more than 3,000 people killed per year in distracted driving accidents, it is important that we make distracted driving prevention initiatives a priority. At Martinson & Beason, P.C., our personal injury and car accident attorneys have seen the devastation that these accidents can cause.

Whenever you are behind the wheel, we urge you to stay alert and focused on the road. If you feel drowsy, pull over into the nearest rest stop. If you are carpooling, ask another person to drive. And of course, do not use your phone while driving. This includes talking, texting, surfing the web, and other uses.

You can’t always avoid an auto accident, but you can take steps to make you and your passengers safer.