From belting out your favourite Queen number on the radio to hitting a pitch-perfect note with your CD player – who doesn’t like engaging in a bit of car-aoke?
A recent scientific study suggests though that singing in the car can make you a bad driver.
CBS reports that according to the Accident Analysis and Prevention science journal, singing along to your favourite tune while operating a motor vehicle is a potential hazard.
The study was conduced by a group of Australian psychologists who tested 21 drivers between the ages of 18 and 55, monitoring specifically how quickly the reacted to dangerous situations on the road. They found that those who were actively in engaging with music as opposed to just listening to it were at greater risk as it slowed their response time.
The study concludes that singing – just like texting – is a distraction to the driver: “Although secondary tasks vary in the degree to which they distract the driver, any activity that competes for the attention of the driver has the potential to degrade driving performance and may have serious consequences for road safety.”
Just imagine those TAC ads, or they could just use the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scene from Wayne’s World…
Christina Rudin-Brown, the author of the study, told Canada.com that her research’s findings, “suggest that drivers should try to avoid singing while driving, and even listening to music when driving — especially when the driving demand is high,” such as in bad weather or unfamiliar surroundings.
The good news however is that, “unexpectedly, singing and listening to music were associated with better lane-keeping performance than the no-music condition.” Rudin-Brown chalks this up to an experience called “cognitive tunnelling,” where additional mental processing causes the driver to focus their attentions on the vicinity of the car, rather than the outside surroundings.