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Is music really a distraction while driving?

You may be well aware of dangerous distractions, such as texting and driving, that can lead to car accidents. However, can something as simple as listening to music also be a distraction? Doesn't everyone listen to music when driving?

While people do listen to music often in the car, it is absolutely a distraction. Studies have found that differences in the type of music and the volume also play a large role. Music that was louder proved to be more distracting.

In one study, almost 98 percent of drivers who were monitored while listening to music did one of three things:

-- They broke the speed limit.
-- They drove with only one hand.
-- They drove too close to the cars ahead of them, tailgating those drivers.

In the same study, about one out of every three drivers became so completely distracted that verbal commands needed to be given to draw their attention to important things on the road. Had they been alone, those commands could not have been given.

Additionally, about one out of every five drivers--20 percent--had to be saved from a crash only with braking or steering assistance. Again, had they not been traveling with others who were monitoring their driving, they could have easily been involved in car accidents.

Distraction levels did drop significantly when light jazz and soft rock were chosen, rather than louder, faster music. In these cases, errors fell by a full 20 percent, showing that the type of music makes a big difference.

Those who are injured by distracted drivers in Canada need to know their rights to seek compensation, even when the distractions are as simple and common as music.

Source: Brain Injury Society, "Music and Your Brain: A Deadly Lullaby of Distracted Driving," Jacob Masters, accessed March 18, 2016

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