Many people listen to music when out on the roads. It certainly has a lot of benefits – it can entertain you, help you relax, help you stay alert or cheer you up on a bad day. Yet listening to it while on the move can also make your journey more hazardous.
Here’s why drivers, pedestrians and cyclists should all use music with care:
It can encourage drivers to speed
Studies have shown that listening to fast-tempo music can encourage drivers to speed up. It can also make some drivers more aggressive.
Listening to very slow music can also be problematic, as a driver traveling well below the speed of others is also a hazard. Worse still, music that relaxes could cause someone who is already feeling sleepy to fall asleep momentarily and lose control of their vehicle or miss something happening around them.
Music can block out other sounds
Turning up the volume can also turn up the danger on the road. All road users from pedestrians through to truck drivers need to hear sounds around them, such as someone blowing their car horn, or a shout of warning from a cyclist alongside them. Even plain old engine noise can alert people to approaching vehicles.
Music can cause distracted driving
Music can transport you to another place or time (even if it only does so in your head). Yet anyone traveling on the roads needs to be fully present. Many a pedestrian has stepped out into the street because they were absorbed in the music, just as many a driver has missed seeing a pedestrian stepping into the road because they were absorbed in their music.
For all the benefits music can bring, road users need to listen responsibly. If you’re injured because someone was paying more attention to their radio than they were the road, it may be time to learn more about your legal options.