According to a new study from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers, male novice drivers in particular make more frequent and serious mistakes listening to their preferred music than their less aggressive, female counterparts.
The BGU study evaluated 85 young novice drivers accompanied by a researcher/driving instructor. Each driver took six challenging 40-minute trips; two with music from their own playlists; two with background music designed to increase driver safety (easy listening, soft rock, light jazz), and two additional trips without any music.
The study was conducted by BGU Director of Music Science Research Warren Brodsky and researcher Zack Slor to assess distraction by measuring driver deficiencies (miscalculation, inaccuracy, aggressiveness, and violations) as well as decreased vehicle performance.
When the teen drivers listened to their preferred music, virtually all (98 percent) demonstrated an average of three deficient driving behaviours in at least one of the trips.
32 percent required a sudden verbal warning or command for action, and 20 percent needed an assisted steering or braking maneuver to prevent an imminent accident.
These errors included speeding, tailgating, careless lane switching, passing vehicles and one-handed driving.
Without listening to any music, 92 percent made errors. However, when driving with an alternative music background designed by Brodsky and Israeli music composer Micha Kisner, deficient driving behaviors decreased by 20 percent.
The study is set to be published in Accident Analysis and Prevention.