Listening to music whilst driving can help motorists

Motorists who enjoy listening to the radio or music whilst driving may actually be better drivers in certain situations, research by a PhD candidate from the University of Groningen has revealed.

Simulating driving situations

Research into this particular subject has been carried out before, but environment and traffic psychologist Ayça Berfu Ünal was the first to experiment with different traffic situations.

It is often thought that drivers who listen to music may be impairing their ability to concentrate, but when participants in Ünal's experiment were asked to drive behind another vehicle for half an hour on a quiet road, listening to music was in fact shown to enhance their concentration.

Certain degree of arousal

Ünal is quoted as saying that, "people who listened to music were more focused on driving and performed better than those without music. It’s fairly logical: people need a certain degree of 'arousal' to stop themselves getting bored. In monotonous traffic situations, music is a good distraction that helps you keep your mind on the road."

No negative affects whilst driving with music

Motorists were also observed as they drove in a busy, urban traffic simulation with music playing, as well as with different types of music.

However, there was very little difference in the quality of their driving with or without music playing, Ünal discovered.

She would now like to go on and investigate the effect of music or talking on your telephone whilst cycling, given the high number of cyclists in the Netherlands.

Source: University of Groningen

Mark McDaid


Mark McDaid

Mark hails from the Emerald Isle but has been living in the land of cheese and deep-fried-indiscriminate-meat since February 2009. He can often be found trying to read through a...

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