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David M. Kindopp

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Does music affect how well people drive?

There’s nothing like getting in your car on a beautiful California day, rolling down your windows, and singing along to your favorite tunes. We all have our favorites and listening to them in the car is something that 90% of drivers enjoy.

There are some who would say that the type of music you listen to can affect your driving. In fact, a study conducted by the London Metropolitan University has concluded that music can be very distracting.

What type of music can cause speeding?

The study followed several drivers as they listened to various playlists while driving a total of 500 miles each. Music genres such as rap, heavy metal and hip-hop were shown to cause them to drive more aggressively than they would if they were listening to slower-paced songs by artists such as Norah Jones or Elton John.

The tempo or timing of the song has a lot to do with the drivers’ reactions. Songs that had a fast beat caused the drivers to speed up and brake aggressively. That’s due to the fact that a fast, pulsating beat can drive up your heart rate. Driving more safely is accomplished when you listen to music that keeps the tempo at 60-80 beats per minute. This medium-paced music tends to have a calming effect on drivers.

Use caution when listening to slower music

Just as extremely fast, up-tempo songs can cause a person to drive too fast and aggressively, slow songs can also pose a problem. When you listen to music that is very slow (40 or so beats per minute) it relaxes you. Unfortunately, it also can lead to falling asleep behind the wheel.

The next time you get behind the wheel, think twice about your choice of music. Should you have an accident because of someone else’s negligence, be sure to seek legal guidance.