Have you ever been intently looking for something while you’re driving, such as a street sign, and you can’t quite find it? Maybe it’s dark or rainy and it’s hard to see. To help, you reach forward and turn down the radio. Turning the music off helps you see the sign so that you make the proper turn.
But why did this help? Many people do this instinctively, and it’s true that it can help you accomplish your goal. But listening to music, of course, has nothing to do with how well you can see in the car, so why are the two related?
Reducing cognitive distractions
By turning down the music, you’re eliminating one of the mental distractions that you face in the car. These are one of the main categories for distractions as understood by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In essence, all of the information being taken in by your body requires some level of attention, even if you’re not aware of it. So turning down the music helps you focus on what you’re looking at. It doesn’t improve your eyesight in any sense, but it improves your attention.
This exercise is important to consider because it shows just how distracting music and other types of stimuli can be. Many times, drivers don’t even realize how distracted they are behind the wheel. But someone who has turned the music up as loud as they can and who is singing along may be just as distracted as someone who is using a cell phone.
If you do get involved in an accident caused by one of these drivers, be sure you know how to seek financial compensation.