Loud music linked to car accidents

27 August, 2013 | by Benedict Pather

Say what? Listening to certain songs, while driving, increases your chances of ending up in a car accident.

This is according to a recent study at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel, after researchers found that teens caused more traffic violations when listening to rap or rock, versus driving to songs made to minimize driving distractions or no music at all.

The study also found that while the volume is turned up, young males tend to make more frequent and reckless driving mistakes than their female counterparts. No kidding.

Behind the wheel

BGU recruited 85 young drivers, who were asked to embark on six 40-minute road-trips, and conducted three separate tests.

First, they were asked to drive while listening to a few fast-paced songs, then while listening to music meant to increase safety – which ranges from easy listening to elevator music –  and then in silence.

The researcher’s then analyzed driver behaviour as well as the subject’s mood after each trip.

You spin me right round

The result showed that more aggressive genres, put drivers on ‘power trips’ that encouraged traffic violations ranging from speeding to careless lane changes, one-hand driving and tailgating. No doubt head nodding, foot tapping and strange facial expressions were part in parcel.

All 85 subjects committed at least three errors in one or more of the six trips; 27 received a verbal warning and 17 required steering or braking by a driving instructor in order to prevent an accident.

Results proved that while certain genres were being played, 98% of the participants made driving mistakes; without the music, 92% caused driving faults; and while listening to the so-called safe-driving music, 77% made driving errors on the road. Soothing music therefore reduced bad driving by 20%. Nice one.

Not a major difference you say? Still, a difference none the less. Either way we’d like to hear from you…

In your experience behind the wheel, does listening to more dynamic music enhance your driving or place you at risk,  or would you prefer driving to no music at all? Let us know…

Related article: Young South Africans are aggressive drivers


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