Many drivers have a different technique whilst driving and different experiences, some listen to music and some do not. Some people are cautious drivers and others reckless, but does music influence the type of driver you are? Those who do listen to music have a variety of genres to choose from, but does the type of music they listen to effect their driving? The following research was conducted in an attempt to answer these questions.
This experimental design simulated a real life driving experience in various conditions and participants were randomly allocated. Genres played whilst driving in the simulation were pop, rock, jazz, blues, funk and country. Results found that music tempo does have an effect on driving. Tempo consistently affected the drivers speed and their perceived speed estimate, participants often under-estimated their speed during the course. A relationship between fast music and risky driving behaviour was found and drivers listening to this music were more likely to carry out virtual traffic violations. These violations included disregard for red lights, lane crossings and collisions. Another relationship was found between volume of music and automotive control, suggesting the louder the music the more our automotive control decreases. This study may be lacking ecological validity due to the virtual experience however the statistics for real life accidents in relation to music is unknown and difficult to judge. It also mentions how police investigators, drivers and traffic researchers themselves have not thought of the associations between music and driving (Brodsky, 2001).
We cannot conclude that driving performance is affected by music, however there are clear correlations and evidence to suggest it does. Other factors to be considered are personality types such as the ‘Big Five’ demonstrated by Costa & McCrae, 1992 (cited in Chamorro-Premuzic, 2007). An individual with a conscientiousness personality may naturally be a more cautious driver. The personality types of those in Brodsky’s experiment were unknown which could have been a crucial factor to explain driving performance.
Brodsky concluded the type of genre does not affect a persons driving, instead the study proposed it was the speed, tempo and volume. This should encourage new strategies to be implemented aimed at learner drivers to warn them of the risks of driving in relation to music. At this moment in time drivers are not given any cautions about music volume, the only reason they are asked to not play music so loud is due to it being a nuisance to others in the area. Research like this can be seen in real life environments such as in gyms or clubs, the music in these places is fast and loud which suggests music does have an effect on our behaviour when mixed with other factors.
Brodsky, W. (2001). The effects of music tempo on simulated driving performance and vehicular control. Science Direct, Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and behaviour, 4, (219-241), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1369-8478(01)00025-0
Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2007). Personality and Individual Differences. Wiley Blackwell.