Road trips and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. After all, who doesn't love driving down the highway, belting out the words to their favorite tunes, and practicing their best seated dance moves?
However, hearing that song from your high school prom and singing along with friends can quickly become a distraction. As fun as car concerts can be, several studies identify music as a major driver distraction that increases your risk of getting in an accident.
Here's what you should know.
Like eating, texting, or applying makeup, singing and dancing—even loud music—can divert your attention from safely piloting your vehicle.
This not only slows your response times but also makes it easier to completely ignore potential hazards.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving was a factor in 10% of fatal crashes in 2016.
Does that mean it's time to stop listening to music in the car? No. In fact, some research suggests it may not reduce accidents. However, exercising a little common sense can help you avoid causing music-related distracted driving crashes.
- Keep your music at a reasonable volume. One study found that reaction times slowed in response to loud music, regardless of the type. Avoid cranking the stereo so loud it drowns out the sounds of traffic.
- Stay focused on the road. If you're singing and dancing, your full attention isn't on driving. Keep your eyes on the road and, most importantly, your mind focused on the task at hand.
- Select your songs in advance. Changing the station or finding just the right CD are some of the most dangerous music-related driver distractions. Fortunately, you can bypass these risks entirely by utilizing Bluetooth and music streaming apps or playlists on your phone before you hit the road.