Does Music Make You a Worse Driver?

Man adjusting radio while driving

You’re driving down the highway with your favorite Spotify playlist cranked up. You can’t help yourself from singing along and tapping the steering wheel. While you were caught up in this distraction, you fail to realize that you’re going 15 MPH above the speed limit and you didn’t use your signals during that last lane change. It sounds strange, but there’s a good reason why music makes you a worse driver.

Heightened Aggression

For almost 60 years, crash data has shown that people listening to music are more likely to make driving errors and cause a car crash. What wasn’t well understood was the connection between music and these crashes.

Recent studies have found that drivers, especially young drivers, tend to make far more mistakes when listening to their favorite music. Drivers listening to their favorite music were more likely to indulge in daydreaming, one of the most serious cognitive distractions. One study found that as the music’s volume increases, the driver’s reaction times decrease.

Slower reaction times and distracted driving aren’t the only danger. Some suggest that a driver’s favorite music (and fast-tempo music in general) causes more aggressive driving tendencies, like speeding and road rage. This arguably makes listening to music one of the more dangerous driving distractions as it combines the absent-mindedness of daydreaming with a disregard for safety.

Safer Sounds

All this isn’t to say that you should never listen to music while driving, only that you should be aware of how your favorite music can cause you to make more mistakes. If you realize you’re speeding or that you didn’t use your signals, you might want to change tracks to something more relaxing.

Some studies have found that easy listening, like smooth jazz and ambient sounds, can actually heighten your driving focus and prevent mistakes. In bumper-to-bumper traffic, the right music can even decrease stress and increase your reaction times. It’s all about picking the right music for the drive and making changes if you sense you’re becoming distracted.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries at the hands of a distracted driver, we are here for you. If you'd like to discuss your case with an experienced Montgomery County personal injury attorney from Mayerson Injury Law, P.C. to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (610) 492-7155.

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