by Zack Hargrove

Since 1930s radio became the integral attribute of any car that would appear on the road. Gradually but surely more and more local stations would provide their audience with music by various artists. Cassette tapes came out and quickly the music became an integral part of the driving culture. Regardless of the fact that most people have a good time while listening to these tunes, all of them take additional risks while pressing the “play” button.

Any music is a distraction

The good thing about the music is that it is capable to energize the driver. The audio information driver receives from the sound system keeps him more active, due to the additional brain processing. It helps the person to remain more conscious along the way. Whereas monotonous sounds of the engine or even complete silence of the car is more likely to do the quite opposite. Nevertheless, the effect of the background music is very similar to the cup of coffee. It can wake you up in a short period of time. But it may also make you even more sleepy a bit later. For that reason, you have to know what a bean can do to you and how to select the ones that won’t make you “fall asleep” at wheel.

How Distraction Works

There are two main factors that make driving while listening to music dangerous: high volume and familiarity.

High Volume

Even a non-musician while driving to loud music will start to perceive it more deeply. The driver will start to differentiate the sound of the instruments, think about lyrics and analyze the song in much clearer details. The volume of the music you play has a direct correlation to your ability to stay concentrated. The tone of 50-100 Hz provided with your stereo will start to give the rhythmic pumps in your chest whenever you hear the bass drum or low bass lines. That way, your visual sensor system will interfere with not only audial but tactile perception as well. As a result, your feeling of the road will start to dilute with the way you feel your eardrums and chest.


Familiar songs are good for empty highways, but not for city traffic. The truth is that it is dangerous to listen to any music that you already like. And the more you like the composition, the more likely you are to make a mistake behind the wheel. That way you may not only lose yourself in the process of lip-syncing or even singing like in Step Brothers. You are also taking additional risk to get into the captivity of the most effective distraction from the reality — memories. Favorite tracks you enjoy to relisten contain your personal emotional attachment. It fraught with overthinking about a specific person, event or a part of your life. It brings up the things that happened in the past. Therefore, the safest music to drive to is the one that serves you as a new sheet for future memories. And that is nothing but the music you’ve never heard before.

Music Selection Routine

The reason we pass the seat belt prior to driving because we want to receive minimum damage in case of a car accident. But there is a thing that is one level worse: a car accident with horrible music on the background that you are unable to turn off because of the vehicle’s deformation.

To drive safely and to prevent ourselves from being trapped in the car with unwanted music, it is good to do the selecting music routine properly. Let’s use rock music as an example.


If you already know the type of genres you like, choosing new music will be easy. If you prefer metal you can explore such branches as sludge metal, industrial metal, progressive metal, melodic metal, etc.

Side Projects

It’s a great method when you have specific favorite bands. Googling their names will help you to find out more about other projects of these musicians. For instance, if you like Alice In Chains, you might like Layne Staley’s (original singer) sideband Mad Season.

Top Musical Acts

If you don’t divide music by genres or names of the artist, IMBD’s “Top 100 Rock Bands” will make selection easy for you. It is very likely that during the process you will find bands that you’ve always wanted to hear. So if it’s a group of your favorite singer, it is a better idea to appreciate his songs outside of the car. Not only better because of respect for your artist, but because of your own safety.

About the Author: Zack Hargrove is a professional editor who is always willing to assist struggling writers. Most of his topics are dedicated to music, rock scene and unusual ways of strengthening your scientific curiosity. You can always find him on Twitter @zackhargrovejr.