If you are injured in a car crash, and someone asks you what music the other driver was playing, your first thought might be “Who cares?” Yet, recent research suggests that music can affect people’s ability to drive safely.
A 2013 study looked at how music choice affected drivers. It discovered that the worst music the people could listen to was the music they preferred.
Music can distract drivers
Think of it like this. You are flicking through the radio and come across a song you hate. If you cannot change it, you might turn it down or try to tune it out. Yet, when you find a track you love, you probably turn it up, which makes it harder to notice other things going on around you.
If you like the song you might tap the steering wheel to the beat or sing along to the lyrics. If you play guitar, you might try and work out that tricky chord change you have not yet mastered. Or if it is Celine Dion you might drift back to that first candlelit night in the student dorm. Whatever the motive, familiar songs can distract you from focusing on the road.
Tempo also matters. It is much harder to drive slow and steady when listening to techno blasting at 130 bpm than when listening to Leonard Cohen. Yet, if you are struggling to stay awake Leonard could be fatal.
There is no evidence to suggest that preferring Celine Dion to Run DMC makes someone a more dangerous driver, or a safer one. Yet the music someone was playing when they crashed into you might help you discover why they crashed into you. Were they playing it so loud that they did not hear you beep your horn? Were they using fast music to stay awake? Or did their music choice cause to them fall asleep at the wheel?
Getting the compensation you need can be challenging in a car crash. Sometimes you need to think outside the box to show that the other driver was to blame for your injuries.