You get in the car, crank up the radio and sing along on your way home. It’s fun, it’s a way to blow off steam after a long day at work and you enjoy it.
What you may be wondering, though, is whether or not it’s dangerous. Are you increasing the odds of an accident by singing along to your favorite songs?
You could be, according to a study reported on by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. They ran a test with three different components: Drivers who were driving in silence, drivers who had music playing and drivers who were signing with the music.
Due to the mental demands of singing and driving, the study found that singing drivers’ speeds tended to vary more and their response times were slower than when they were only driving. Their speeds also slowed down overall, perhaps because they were thinking about the music and not the vehicle.
Response times also fell for drivers who just had music playing, even if they weren’t singing. This suggests that just listening to music puts extra mental demands on a driver. The driver may then be slightly distracted and not as quick to notice changing conditions in front of him or her.
In the end, the NCBI decided that music impairs hazard perception on the road. It increases the mental workload for the driver and can make him or her respond more slowly — something that’s very dangerous when a split second could be the difference between an accident and a safe drive home.
If you’ve been hit by a distracted driver who was singing and not watching the road, you may have a right to financial compensation for medical costs and more.
Source: NCBI, “A simulator study of the effects of singing on driving performance,” GM Hughes, accessed Aug. 01, 2017