music while driving

Music While Driving: The Benefits and the Downside


Music is important to almost every person on Earth. It is hard to find someone who does not enjoy listening to any type of music. Although preferences may differ, one thing unites us all: without music, life will be dull.

Music is present in important and mundane moments. There is music playing during weddings. People associate certain artists and songs with their emotions and experiences — both good and bad. They listen to music when they are happy, sad, or bored.

It is also common for people to play music to boost energy and get them through a tedious task. Many people find that music can enhance focus at work or when studying. Moreover, a lot of drivers also stream music when they are on the road.

In fact, according to some studies, 90 percent of drivers listen to some form of music in their car. But there is no exact number and some experts believe that the number of people who listen to music while driving is higher.

Music is clearly important to car owners because so many people are willing to spend more to upgrade the in-vehicle entertainment system. Many drivers want to digitize their dashboards by installing Apple Carplay, an interface that will more seamlessly connect their smartphones to their vehicles. Through it, they can listen to their playlists as well as find a better route toward their destination and contact their loved ones.

Many car owners also improve their listening experience by changing out the speakers into better-sounding units. They can get speakers that boost bass or have high clarity.

music while driving

Listening to music has an impact on the driving experience.

A Stress-Free CommutePerhaps, the most important influence of music over a driver is its ability to improve mood. Traveling to and from work or school every day is very stressful. It is worse when there is a traffic jam that elongates the time you spend on the road for several minutes to hours.

The traffic congestion in Australia is reportedly getting worse every year, especially in capital cities such as Melbourne and Sydney. Sydney, in particular, is still the most congested city across Australia, but Melbourne is fast catching up. Over the years, Melbourne’s speed of traffic has deteriorated.

People need to reduce levels of stress when dealing with traffic congestion because, otherwise, it could increase aggressiveness. It is not surprising to hear about drivers getting into fights, and it is caused by stress from worsening road conditions.

Music has already been proven to improve mood and alleviate stress. Previous studies found that music triggers the release of dopamine also known as the “feel-good hormone.” Dopamine instantly lifts up the mood.

Improved Focus

Many people also swear that music helps them concentrate better. Those who study or work see increased productivity when listening to music.

There is a scientific basis to these claims. Music does not affect everyone the same way, but researchers found that music can help students absorb new information more easily. This is because music trains the brain to pay better attention to events and predict what will happen next.

Although there are no similar studies on the impact of listening to music and focusing while driving, these effects theoretically can improve safety on the road.

The Bad

Not all music is good for driving, however. Researchers from the London Metropolitan University said that, in a study, they found that certain types of music can lead to adverse outcomes.

The researchers tapped eight drivers who listened to different playlists. They were also asked to drive 500 miles each. Throughout the study, the researchers monitored each driver’s heart rate, driving skills, and changes in their driving behavior.

In their paper, they reported that the most ideal tempo for driving falls between 60 and 80 beats, similar to the tempo of the human heartbeat. On the other hand, the researchers identified noisy and loud tunes as dangerous for driving because they raised the heart rate of the drivers.

As an example, the researchers named Norah Jones, Jason Mraz, Coldplay, Elton John, Bon Iver, and Radiohead songs as “safe” for driving. Meanwhile, tracks by The Black Eyed Peas, Fall Out Boy, Nickelback, Kanye West, Guns N’ Roses, and M.I.A. as “dangerous” to listen to while driving.

Many people listen to music while they drive because it makes the task so much better. Music improves their mood, reduces levels of stress, and can even boost focus. However, sometimes, music can be distracting and dangerous. Drivers should be more careful of their music choices while driving to lower the risk of accidents.

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