The first thing that many drivers do when they get in the car is turn on their radio or go to their favorite playlist on their phone. They can’t imagine driving without music. Other drivers find music distracting. They’d rather drive in silence.
That’s why there’s no one definitive answer to the question of whether music makes drivers less safe. It depends on the driver. However, the type of music a driver listens to can impact how safely they operate their vehicle. That was among the findings in one study in the United Kingdom.
Researchers at London Metropolitan University had eight people drive 500 miles while listening to various types of music. The drivers’ heart rates were monitored along with their driving skills and behavior as the music changed.
The researchers determined that the subjects drove the most safely when they were listening to music with 60 to 80 beats per minute, which is about the rate of the human heartbeat. The songs that were the least safe were those with a tempo considerably faster than the human heartbeat and very loud.
According to the study, some types of music impact males and females differently. For example, while hip-hop music made drivers of both genders more aggressive, it changed the females’ driving behavior more than the males’. They tended to accelerate faster and brake harder.
Further, the women in the study were more likely to speed while listening to dance music, while the men were more likely to speed while heavy metal music was playing. Interestingly, classical music caused both genders to drive more erratically. Artists with “safe songs,” according to the researchers, included Elton John, Aerosmith, Coldplay, Norah Jones, Bon Iver and Justin Timberlake.
Of course, people are most likely to listen to music they enjoy while they’re driving. That could minimize the dangers of what might be considered “unsafe” genres of music. However, it’s wise to recognize if various types of music distract you or impact your driving in other negative ways. The more alert you are, the better able you are to avoid getting into a crash.
If you are injured by a negligent or reckless driver, don’t hesitate to seek the compensation you need and deserve for medical expenses and other economic and non-economic damages.