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DRIVING WITH DIPSTICKS

Study says you shouldn't sing while driving

Monday, May 19, 2014 - 9:44 am

I was perusing the Web this week and came across an article on mentalfloss.com that I found amusing. It was a list of 11 things that make you a bad driver. It put it this way: “You might have passed your driving test with flying colors and never text while driving, but it turns out there are a lot more bizarre things that can affect how dangerous you are on the road.”

What I first found interesting, top of the list was singing. What? I always rock out in the car.

It stated the obvious: “Music is important when you are driving. You’d be hard pressed to find a car that didn’t at least come with a basic radio, and lots of people will spend thousands of dollars making sure they have the best aftermarket stereo systems available.”

It then continued, “But listening to music contributes to hundreds of car accidents every year. People fiddling with the radio will look away from the road. Even the type of music you listen to can affect your driving; high tempo music, like techno, makes you twice as likely to go through a red light, for instance.”

Then the bombshell: “But possibly the worst thing to do is sing along to your favorite tunes. Even when singing a song you know by heart, your brain has to work to remember the melody and the words. This increases the workload on your brain and in turn makes it harder to react to dangerous situations when driving.”

The article cited a 2013 study by Genevieve Hughes, Christina Rudin-Brown and Kristie Young titled, “A simulator study of the effects of singing on driving performance.”

According to the study, subjects were tested with peripheral detection tasks in a simulator with or without music, and they were asked to sing in both environments. The findings: “As expected, singing while driving was rated as more mentally demanding, and resulted in slower and more variable speeds, than driving without music. Listening to music was associated with the slowest speeds overall, and fewer lane excursions than the no music condition. Interestingly, both music conditions were associated with slower speed-adjusted PDT response times and significantly less deviation within the lane than was driving without music.”

Until next time, be careful out there; no one else is. Hey, no singing either. Just kidding.

Ben Brickman is production manager for Fort Wayne Newspapers. Want to vent? Send it to dipsticks@news-sentinel.com. Include all the details you can think of. If your dipstick gets in the paper he’ll give you the credit, or not. It’s your call. You can phone in your Dipstick sightings at 461-8285. Ben’s also on Facebook, Driving With Dipsticks!