Crank Up the Radio: Why Music Might Be Good for Drivers
Ever find yourself getting drowsy on a long stretch of highway? The “ka-thump ka-thump ka-thump” of the tires and the hum of the engine are enough to lull you to sleep. That’s when you want to click on the radio to keep you awake… but wait! What about all the studies about distracted driving, car crashes and all that?
Come to find out, listening to the radio in the car isn’t as guilty a pleasure as you think. In fact, it might decrease your anxiety and make you a BETTER driver!
While excessively loud music should be avoided, studies have shown that music can affect mood and respiration rates. When is moderate and non-complex, resembling a heartbeat, drivers are more relaxed, driving is less tedious and monotonous, and reaction times are faster. Plus, drivers that listen to music in this state are also less prone to speeding, dangerous maneuvers and traffic violations.
It has also been suggested, but not proven that music performed in a minor key can attribute to safer driving.
Pretty cool, huh? Music really does soothe the savage beast!
But don’t touch that dial* just yet! There’s a dark side to the study as well.
While moderate tempos make for safer drivers, faster tempos INCREASE anxiety, agitation and respiration, making dangerous drivers more dangerous than they already are. Basically, the faster the song, the more you’ll want to match the tempo with the gas pedal. Also, music with a greater amount of syncopation and complex rhythms demands more attention from the driver and creates distraction.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, listening to music that’s TOO slow, serene and relaxing will make driving all the more tedious and monotonous, increasing the chances for distractions, daydreaming and falling asleep at the wheel. This excludes talk radio, which wasn’t a part of the studies conducted.
Might want to take Kenny G. off of your roadtrip playlist, then. 😛
At the end of the day, it’s all about knowing your limits as a driver and paying close attention to how music affects you. Music is an amazing thing that has very real emotional and biological influences on the driver. It can be a powerful distraction, but it can also be a powerful tool as well.
Please listen responsibly.
First Baldwin Insurance
*For all you young people, a dial is a round knob on a radio that people used to find their radio stations before the days of digital presets and XM radio,… …back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.