Music, teens and cars: A bad combination
Teens have the highest rate of car accidents than any other group of drivers in California. There are many reasons for this, but distracted driving is quickly becoming the top one. Distracted driving can be anything that takes your focus off the road, according to the Association for Psychological Science. Studies show that it does not take much for teens to become distracted. Something as simple as music could pose a threat.
The radio is a standard fixture in vehicles, and most of them also play music from a smartphone through wireless technology. Most people listen to music when they drive, which may make it seem odd that music could be a distraction. However, research shows that for teens, it is.
Playing music while driving is a distraction, even without a teen fiddling with the controls. The mere act of listening becomes distracting. It divides the teen’s attention between the road and the music. So, it takes away some of the focus, which means that the teen is more likely to miss a warning and end up in an accident.
The main reason why music seems to affect teens more than older drivers is the inexperience factor; teens do not have as many hours behind the wheel. They are not as good at detecting warning signs that signal a potential crash. They also do not have the same driving skills as older drivers who can maneuver better and react faster when having to make split-second decisions. If they are even slightly distracted when behind the wheel, it often results in a bad situation.
Parents may want to suggest that teens not play music when driving or at the very least, lower the volume so they can better focus on the road and not what song is currently playing. This could help keep teens from ending up in an accident due to distraction.