-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A quick switch to mellow
music in the car may make you a safer driver, researchers say.
Promptly changing to soothing music is the most effective way to
calm down while driving in stressful conditions that could trigger
road rage, found the study published in the Aug. 30 issue of the
It was already known that music can influence mood and driving
styles. More accidents occur when drivers listen to "upbeat" music,
possibly because the music is more distracting or because it causes
drivers to go faster. Downbeat music is more relaxing and
associated with safer driving.
However, there were questions about whether a quick or gradual
switch from upbeat to downbeat music was most effective in changing
drivers' moods. To get answers, researchers had volunteers tackle
demanding driving conditions in a simulator while they listened to
different types of music.
Participants who switched to more mellow music abruptly or
gradually both reached the same levels of calmness eventually.
However, those who made the switch quickly became calm sooner and
made fewer driving mistakes, according to a journal news
The results show that "during high-demand driving, abrupt
changes in music led to more physiological calmness and improved
driving performance and were thus safer and more effective,"
concluded researcher Marjolein van der Zwaag, of Philips Research
Laboratories in Eindhoven, and colleagues in the Netherlands and at
Stanford University in California.
The investigators said their findings could also apply to office
or hospital settings to encourage or relax listeners.
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human
solutions to risky driving.
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