Do you find listening to music to be distracting or relaxing? Music (all genres) has the ability to affect listeners differently. For example, you may find yourself dancing and singing along to the radio, and in turn, losing focus of the road and your surroundings. However, depending on the style of music you’re blasting through your vehicle, your mood could change on a dime (i.e. angry, sad, annoyed, happy, etc.). A recent study conducted from Ben Gurion University shows that listening to your favorite tunes can be quite sidetracking, particularly for teen drivers and males. Let’s take a closer look at the study.

What’s on Your Radio?

Accompanied by a professional driving instructor, 85 different drivers were tested on their skills and precision while listening to their favorite type of music. It seems that when drivers chose their own tunes, 98 percent made various errors, such as: tailgating, speeding, dangerous lane changes, negligent passing, and holding the wheel with one hand. Furthermore, about a third of the drivers had to verbally be warned by the instructor, while 20 percent of the instructors had to take emergency action to prevent an accident from taking place.

Those who are between the ages of 16 and 30 usually prefer to drive while listening to the following genres of music: pop, rock, dance, hip-hop, and rap. While listening to this music described as “energetic and fast-paced,” the levels are often intensified, usually between 120 and 130 decibels. When a driver becomes completely immersed in a song (no matter what the specific style may be), he or she quickly loses focus of the road, the other drivers around them, and the course of action. Therefore, driving tasks become more difficult to accomplish (i.e. reacting to certain events).

Practice Safe Driving

Though it’s important to note that driving errors and distractions still took place without music playing in the vehicle, the tone or style of a song could potentially influence a driver’s actions or abilities to stay safe on the road. Most accidents can often be avoided. If you constantly practice safe driving techniques and are always aware of your actions, you are more likely to avoid accidents. The road is a dangerous place, which means the task of driving should be taken seriously. Stay safe when traveling — you don’t just have to worry about your life, but the lives of others, as well.