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The Best and Worst Driving Music

The Best and Worst Driving Music

August 20, 2015

Social Sciences & Humanities

Washington Jewish Week via JTA — Dr. Warren Brodsky, director of music science research at BGU, has bad news for music lovers: When your favorite song comes on the radio, it may make you a worse driver.

Don’t despair, though, certain music may also improve your driving.

Dr. Warren Brodsky inserting a CD in his car stereo (Photo: Elisha Brodsky)

Dr. Warren Brodsky inserting a CD in his car stereo (Photo: Elisha Brodsky)

For more focused driving, Dr. Brodky recommends listening to music without lyrics but with a steady rhythm. The music should not be familiar to the driver.

“The research is irrefutable that listening to music in the car affects the way you drive,” especially if it’s a song you’re “involved with,” says Dr. Brodsky.

If a song jogs a memory or frequently changes tempo and volume, it’s distracting you from driving, he says.

Dr. Brodsky shared his findings in his 400-plus page book, Driving with Music: Cognitive-Behavioral Implications, published in April.

Like texting, eating, putting on makeup, or having a conversation, he warned, listening to music while driving is a potentially deadly distraction.

“Whether it’s rap, hip-hop, classical, or rock, music that gets you singing along or drumming the steering wheel could increase the risk that you’ll change lanes without realizing it or react too late to avoid a crash,” says Dr. Brodsky.

Driving with Music is based on Brodsky’s 2013 study with co-researcher Zach Slor, which tracked 85 teenage drivers.

When their favorite music was playing, the young drivers were involved in the greatest number of miscalculations, motor vehicle violations and incidents of aggressive driving. Funded by the Israel National Road Safety Authority, the original research focused on young drivers, because they tend have the most accidents and fatalities.

Read more on the JTA website >>