Driving and music, the perfect combination?

23 May '2018 Sound

Ever since the invention of the car radio, music and driving have been inextricably linked. Why? Well, obviously, music has the ability to spice up every car ride. But what are the effects of listening to music whilst cruising in your car? Science, come in.

Music makes mental?

The first effect can’t be classified as a positive one per se. Listening to music increases the mental effort while driving, in both easy and complex traffic situations. Research has shown that the mental effort especially increases in traffic jams (61%) and monotonous driving (63%).

But why does music influence your mental effort? Because music is information, and like any kind of information it requires processing by the brain. Unfortunately, drivers already have to process a lot of information: the road ahead, other drivers, information on the dashboard and physical stimuli like temperature and comfort. Adding music to this mush of incoming information diminishes the brain’s capability to concentrate on driving.


The three indicators

There are three music-related indicators which cause an increase in mental effort: the speed-, the volume-, and the type of music.

Speed of music

Drivers who listen to uptempo music (120 beats per minute or more) are twice as likely to ignore red lights. Compared to drivers who aren’t listening to music at all.

Volume of music

An increase in volume lengthens the reaction time of drivers. Especially in case of an emergency stop. If a driver listens to loud music, it doesn’t matter if it’s fast or slow, House or Hip Hop, the reaction time of the driver will be reduced.

Type of music:

Research has also shown that different types of music influence driving behavior in many different ways. Major-key music, for example, is more likely to cause excitement and therefore result in faster driving speeds. And music with lyrics and complex melodies are more likely to impact negatively on your driving skills negatively because the information is harder to process for your brains.
drivingDoes this mean we should completely stop listening to music whilst cruising in your car? Luckily not! Research has also shown that the heart rates of drivers remain more stable when they listen to music, suggesting music relaxes drivers. Especially music similar in speed to the human heart rate can relieve stress and cause safer driving. Therefore the optimum tempo for driving music should be in accordance to the human heartbeat, which is between 60 to 80 beats per minute whilst driving. And where there is a significant level of environmental noise (surrounding sounds), music can help focus the attention of the driver away from such distraction.

For this reason, we listed a Spotify-playlist above that you can listen to that will actually improve your driving. Or at the very least, not make it worse. Or so science says! Still, absolute silence is also great for a lot of people

Source: NoNonsense


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