They say that music soothes the savage beast, and many drivers would agree that they find music a way to ease their stress, relieve their boredom and generally make their commutes a lot easier to tolerate.
Unfortunately, your music may also be making you a worse driver.
Music is one of the most widely-accepted distracted driving habits
You probably don’t think of music as a distraction – especially if you have long used the radio or your playlist as background noise when you were working or studying. Plus, there are studies that say music can help some people with both concentration and focus.
However, that doesn’t necessarily hold true when you’re driving. At minimum, listening to music while you’re driving is a cognitive distraction, and studies have shown that loud music, in particular, is problematic. A driver who cranks their radio up is likely to have their reaction times slowed by about 20% – and that’s huge when you’re trying to avoid a wreck.
Lest you think you can solve the problem by just playing your favorite mix of songs – tunes you’ve heard hundreds of times over – while you’re driving. When tested, 98% of drivers made significant errors on the road when listening to their favorite selections. (By comparison, 77% of drivers listening to “easy” music, like light jazz or soft rock, made similar errors.)
What does all this mean? Well, if you’ve ever caught yourself turning down the radio when you’re driving through an unfamiliar area or heavy traffic so “you can think,” that’s your brain’s way of saying that your music probably shouldn’t even be on.
It’s good that you’re learning more about safe driving habits, but distracted drivers really are everywhere. If you’re injured in a wreck with a distracted driver, find out more about what it takes to get fair compensation for your losses.