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31 May 2019

Sounds on road safety

First published30/05/2019
Listening to loud rock music while driving could have a negative effect on road safety. This is according to research carried out jointly by IAM RoadSmart and the magazine Auto Express.


The research used a sophisticated driving simulator system. A test driver sat in the Base Performance Simulator while tackling a simulation of the Red Bull circuit in Austria. As the person drove, loud rock, classical, pop and hip-hop music was played. The trials included different driving scenarios with control at high speed, fast acceleration and also hard braking to a halt within a set area.

The test subject managed the slowest lap while listening to loud rock music, though the classical music resulted in the person becoming almost too calm at the wheel. Listening to the hip hop music resulted in better lap times, but poor braking performance. The best driving performance was achieved when the person was listening to the pop music.

Steve Fowler, editor-in-chief of Auto Express commented, “Much of the focus around distracted driving is on using a handheld mobile behind the wheel, and rightly so. But Auto Express’s joint research with IAM RoadSmart shows that as well as making a conscious decision to put their phone away when driving, motorists should also think carefully about what music they listen to.

“Volume is the major factor for concentration and has a big effect. I would certainly advise drivers to dial down the noise when making a manoeuvre – and save the thrash metal for later in the day, or night!”

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