Musicians from all walks of life and genres have immortalized the state of California in song. While music is certainly an important part of the state, it could also be making the roads more dangerous. Scientists recently demonstrated that songs with certain BPM levels — beats per minute — influence drivers to engage in more risky behaviors while behind the wheel. This means that listening to certain types of music could actually increase the risk of car accidents.
The study was conducted with participants who were asked to drive on a simulated, six-lane road. Researchers had participants either listen to music or drive in silence, then observed their driving behaviors. One of the main points of data the scientists looked at was how often participants changed lanes.
On average, the study participants switched lanes 20 times for every 70 minutes behind the wheel. However, since this was the average number of lane changes, some groups switched much more often and others much less. The group that had the highest number of lane switches were those that listened to high-tempo music of 120 BPM or more, who averaged double the average number of lane changes and drove at least 5 mph over the limit. The popular song “American Idiot” by Green Day was determined to be the most dangerous driving song, followed by Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” and The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.”
Music is an integral part of many people’s lives, but it can be dangerous. For example, if a driver chooses to focus on the music coming out of the radio instead of on the road, he or she would be putting other drivers in danger. However, in California it is possible for distracted and dangerous drivers who cause car accidents to be held accountable for their actions. This is usually accomplished through successfully pursued personal injury claims.