Listening to loud music increases the mental effort while driving in both complex and monotonous traffic situations. Below shows how much mental effort increases during routine driving tasks as a result to exposure of music.
In a 1997 experiment, drivers were exposed to music and no music. Study suggested that reaction to objects in front vision was improved, compared to those drivers listening to no music at all. Conversely, the reaction to objects within peripheral vision was slowed by 0.1 seconds.
In a 1999 experiment, the effect of music was studied in high demand and low demand situations. High remand situations are those situations in which the driver must multitask. The experiment found that music had no effect on low demand situations. Music was found to assist drivers in high demand situations.
The issue of whether there is a significant environmental noise has a significant impact on the effect of music whilst driving. Where there is a significant level of environmental noise, music can help focus drivers’ attention away from such distraction.
Speed of music
Drivers who listen to uptempo music (120 beats per minute) are twice as likely to jump red lights, compared to drivers who are listening to no music. Drivers’ heart rates remain more stable when they listen to music, suggesting music can relax drivers. Music similar in speed to the human heart rate can relieve stress and cause safer driving. Therefore, the optimum tempo for driving music should mimic the human heartbeat (60 to 80 beats per minute).
Volume of music
Increase in volume of music lengthens the reaction time of drivers. If a driver listen to loud music, it doesn’t matter whether it is fast or slow, classical or contemporary, when it comes to reducing reaction speed.
Music key and driving
Music in a major key induced an increased heart rate and driving speed.
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