You’ve probably heard about cellphones causing distracted driving or being distracted by setting a GPS. Did you know that listening to the radio or music could be distracting, too?
Listening to the radio or music affects your driving in different ways. To start with, one study out of the United Kingdom found that listening to songs that participants didn’t like negatively impacted their ability to drive safely. This is because listening to a song you don’t like could put you in a bad mood.
Music can also break your connection with what you’re doing, which should be focusing on the road. The tempo of music, is has been shown, can impact how well you concentrate on the road.
Music speed could make you speed
The tempo of music may have an impact on how fast you drive. The brain tends to match your actions to the tempo of the music, so that may mean that you’ll speed up when a quick song is on. Slower music may cause people to relax, but this can be bad, too.
One study found that songs that mimic the rate of the human heart at around 60-80 beats per minute are the best for driving.
Some music may increase the risk of a crash…and your reaction time
What’s interesting about music is that it can have an influence on your reaction time and how likely you are to get into a crash. For example, hard rock was found to increase people’s reaction times, but it also was linked to an increased risk of car crashes.
Music can be helpful for keeping you focused
It’s possible that music could help you focus, too. Environmental noise, like people talking in your vehicle or roadwork outside your car, could be distracting. Music covers those distractions up and may help you focus better on the road.
These are a few things to know about music and how it could affect your driving. It seems to be a double-edged blade, but it could have a positive influence on your driving if you select the right song and remain dedicated to paying attention to the road while listening.