Music and Driving

What’s better than the ultimate jam sesh with all of your friends packed in your car on a summer night, or any night for that matter?  Blasting music and singing my lungs out while driving around town is by far my favorite past time and is also substitute for my own sold out Madison Square Garden concert.  It allows people to become the celebrity they never knew they were or always wished they could be while tediously getting from point A to point B.  I guess celebrities can even jam out to themselves and their friends on the radio, too!

Check out Taylor doing just that with a BBC radio host:

Blasting music seems like the expected thing to do while in the car by yourself. 

But of course, surrounding everything fun and good, there is controversy.  Since 1930, the year that  radios began to be installed in motor vehicles, many people have assumed that listening to music while driving is extremely distracting and in no way productive.  Truth of the matter is, however, that is far from the case.

Music has been proven to increase external stimulation while driving.  The task of driving alone lacks in external stimulation leading to potentially falling asleep at the wheel, and losing interest in what is going on in front of you.  This often results in lack of attention and slower reaction time to changes in ones surroundings.

Despite common belief that that loud music causes faster driving habits, it was in fact proven to cause a slower pace while driving. While listening to louder music, the brain over exerts itself, causing the driver to feel the need to focus more on the road and makes them feel as though there is too much going on around them to drive at a quick speed. While listening to demanding music they begin to feel as though in order to focus on being safe they must slow down their vehicle.

Another positive thing that comes out of playing music while driving is it’s calming effect it has on the driver. Many genres of music help to calm the driver as well as the passengers in the car. This helps to make them not feel rushed and helps tame many people’s road rage issues.

One study done on young adult minivan drivers in major Indonesian cities proved how different genres can effect road rage and in vehicle stress. These drivers are often very stressed due to the pressure that they receive from the passengers in their car. The more passengers, the more stress. They experimented with a few variations of genres to see how they would mentally and physically react to them. One genre was a form of pop music and the other was rock. They expressed content while listening to both genres but physically reacted in a much more harsh way while listening to the much more demanding rock genre. Listening to the calmer and more cheerful pop music kept their road rage much calmer in the same situations.

So next time someone tells you to lower your music and change the ‘ruckus’ you are listening to, tell them these facts. I know I have.

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Works Cited

Berkowitz, Justin. “The History of Car Radios.” Car and Driver.

Unal, Ayca Berfu. De Waard, Dick. Epstude, Kai. “Driving with music: Effects on arousal and performance.” Transportation Research Part F. (2012): 52-65. September 11th, 2013. Elsevier Ltd.

Unal, Ayca Berfu. De Waard, Dick. Epstude, Kai. “The Influence of Music on Mental Effort and Driving Performance.” Accident Analysis and Prevention Volume 48 (2012): 271-278. September 2012. Elsevier Ltd.

Brodski, Warren. “Background Music as a Risk Factor for Distraction Among Young-Novice Drivers.” Accident Analysis and Prevention Volume 59 (2013): 382-393. October 2013. Elsevier Ltd.

Philips (philips).  “Before satellite radio and MP3 players, the only way to listen to music while driving was via cassette player #TBT.”  12 Nov. 2014, 9:20 p.m.  Tweet.

Rinn (MarinnWhitney). “If you are driving alone and you don’t turn up your music as loud as it will go and sing at the top of your lungs your doing it all wrong.”  13 Nov. 2014, 6:23 p.m.  Tweet.

BBC Radio 1.  “Taylor Swift & Greg James Sing Blank Space.”  Online video.  Youtube.  Youtube, 13 Nov. 2014.

Beethoven.  “Moonlight Sonata.”  Vienna, 1802.

Chris Brown. Forever.  RCA, 2007.  CD.

Bob Segar.  Old Time Rock and Roll.  RCA, 1979.  Vinyl.


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