Can you imagine being in your car and not having any music on a long drive? I think I would lose my mind, however right now I seem to be listening to music for babies it is still music! Scientists have been researching the effects of music on driving abilities. Want to learn more about it take our online class
I know that when I am driving and a fast paced angry heavy metal song comes on I tend to drive more aggressively and faster, whereas if I listen to more classical calm music I seem to be even keeled; but does the data support this? Well according to one study by Warren Brodsky “It was hypothesized that simulated driving while listening to fast-paced music would increase heart rate (HR), decrease simulated lap time, and increase virtual traffic violations. The study found that music tempo consistently affected both simulated driving speed and perceived speed estimates: as the tempo of background music increased, so too did simulated driving speed and speed estimate. Further, the tempo of background music consistently affected the frequency of virtual traffic violations: disregarded red traffic-lights (RLs), lane crossings (LNs), and collisions (ACs) were most frequent with fast-paced music.”
This is not the only study, several studies have been done and the results vary!
Conclusion #1: Music you like is more distracting.
A recent Israeli study conducted by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev found that teen drivers who listened to their preferred music made more driving errors. The 85 novice drivers each took 6 challenging road trips for approximately 40 minutes with an instructor. Music was played on 4 of the trips: 2 trips used songs from the driver’s own playlist, and 2 played a special mix of light jazz, soft rock, and easy listening designed by the researchers to enhance driver safety. The remaining 2 trips didn’t have any music.
When driving to their playlist, 98 percent of the drivers made serious mistakes (such as speeding, tailgating, or driving one-handed) versus 92 percent who made similar mistakes without music. Listening to the safe-driving music, however, decreased the rate of mistakes by 20 percent.
The researchers speculate that drivers listen more actively when they enjoy the music, which may cause them to pay less attention to the road.
Conclusion #2: Music actually improves concentration.
A Dutch study found that listening to music had no ill effect on driving ability. The drivers in the study, all between the ages of 19 and 25, were asked to make playlists of familiar songs they liked. That music was played as the subjects drove on a simulated road for 30 minutes in predictable, monotonous traffic. The results: they had no trouble following the car ahead of them, and they actually responded to changes in the lead car’s speed better than those who drove in silence. The music seemed to enhance the drivers’ energy and alertness. The study’s author was careful to note, however, that under stressful conditions, music might have a different effect.
Conclusion #3: It’s the volume that matters.
A study conducted by Memorial University in Newfoundland found that, no matter what kind of music was played, drivers’ reactions were slower when the volume was high. At 95 decibels (as loud as a power lawnmower), the time needed to make decisions increased by 20 percent.
Conclusion #4: The song search is the issue.
Once again, technology is to blame. According to research conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, scrolling through playlists on an MP3 player can impair driving performance. When drivers searched lists of 580 songs, they looked away from the road more often and for longer periods (over 2 seconds) when compared with shorter playlists. Aftermarket MP3 controllers intended to decrease distraction were not helpful — in fact, they actually lengthened the amount of time the drivers’ eyes were off the road.
So again, ANYTHING that distracts you from driving is DANGEROUS! When you are in the car behind the wheel the main focus should be on driving not finding your favorite song! Next time your in the car why not try some slower paced classical music or create a playlist on your MP3 player for a drive so that you DON’T take your eyes off the road. As always, DRIVE SAFE!