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Most young adults say driving without music is ‘impossible’

Most young adults say driving without music is ‘impossible’
/ rbkomar / Stone / Getty Images

Ask yourself this: What is the first thing you do after you start your car’s engine?

A new study finds most young adults turn on the radio before checking their mirrors and fastening their seatbelts.

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) say nearly every young driver they studied believes driving without music is an “impossible” task.

The bad news is that despite not being unable to separate themselves from listening to music while driving, the study also shows that hearing the wrong song can be distracting and sometimes dangerous.  

“To young drivers 18-29, music in the car isn’t just entertainment, it’s part of their auto sphere whether they’re alone or not,” says Prof. Warren Brodsky, director of the BGU Music Science Lab.  “They are so used to constant stimulation and absorbing great amounts of information throughout the day, that they don’t question how the type of tunes they play might affect concentration, induce aggressive behavior, or cause them to miscalculate risky situations.”​

Here are some other interesting takeaways from the study:

  • Each driver answered a 67-item questionnaire.

  • 80% of the group say it’s not just “difficult,” but sometimes “impossible” to concentrate on road conditions or traffic problems without their music on.

  • 97% of people said they prefer listening to several short songs when taking a long trip.

  • Nearly 65% say they play “fast-paced” music on their commute to work.

  • 90% switch to some “upbeat” dance music when driving to a party.


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