Is Music Bad For Your Driving?

It is no doubt that it’s great fun to hit the road and listen to some music, it can keep your mind off stressful thoughts while stuck and traffic, or it can get you energised for your day, so you pumped by the end of your commute. There are plenty of perceived benefits to music, but what do statistics and science say about that?

It requires mental effort, depending

The amount of mental effort used heightens during stressful driving situations, as the mind battles to keep things under control and to try to understand changes in how things operate. We see this when people stop in traffic jams as it rises by 76% and when driving is generally monotonous we see a lesser increase of 63%.

The truth is music will require some of your mental efforts, as it’s another thing the mental processes. You’re already concentrating on the road and probably thinking about what will or what has happened at work, what the destination you’re going to is like, why your coffee tasted a bit weird this morning, and so on.

Three variables alter how mentally strenuous the music is.

Beats per minute:

People who listen to high-speed dance hits that are known for being up-tempo (120 upwards) are two times more likely to miss a red light than those who opt out of music altogether. The upside tempo that matches our heartbeats makes us more relaxed, which can help us from being mentally overloaded and missing the essential details of driving (around 60 to 80 beats per minute).


The volume of music:

The volume of the music will always play a factor, the higher the volume, the longer the reaction speed. Therefore playing Bohemian Rhapsody at the highest possible volume could be the difference between you breaking on time to avoid running over that cyclist.

Style of music:

The type and style of music can also have an impact; the upbeat songs in the major key can result in faster driving. More complex, multidimensional progressions and melodies that boggle your mind take up more mental effort, causing the overload effect we touched on before.

So driving with music sometimes is a must, apart from the negatives, it can keep us more alert during long night time rides and also it can relax us when we could be faced with busy morning traffic.



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