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Car accidents are more likely with fast music playing

Do you like to listen to heavy metal or punk rock while you drive, rather than jazz or classical music? If so, some researchers believe that you could be more likely to get into a car accident in California. They have found that faster music increases the odds that a crash will occur.

In fact, one researcher said that it could even double the likelihood of an accident.

The drivers for the study used a simulator, rather than actually driving, and it was set to put them in Chicago - however, these results are really applicable in almost any setting, from Sacramento to Boston. In any case, 28 different drivers were used, so there was a good sample size to find correlations.

It's worth noting that any music that was used was played at a fairly high volume. All that was altered was the tempo, with slower songs sitting around 60 beats per minute (BPM) and faster songs getting all the way up to 140 BPM. Of course, some songs fell out of this range, and the test was also done without music on.

Drivers ended up crashing more often and making more traffic mistakes with the faster music. For example, one common mistake that was noted was the jumping of red traffic lights. With no music on, 0.6 drivers jumped the lights. With music ranging up to 110 BPM, the number increased to 0.8. With music of 140 BPM, it went all the way up to 1.2, which is twice the amount of the silent control group.

Have you been involved in an accident in California? If so, you need to know what legal steps you should take.

Source: New Scientist, "Fast music linked to car crashes" Mick Hamer, accessed Jan. 27, 2015

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