Health scare of the week
Rocking out behind the wheel
Listening to pumping rock music while cruising down the highway might make driving more enjoyable, but it also raises your risk of crashing, reports The Sunday Times (U.K.). Researchers in China recruited 20 volunteers and put them in a simulator that mimics the experience of driving down a six-lane freeway. Each participant took three drives: one while listening to a fast rock track with a tempo of at least 120 beats per minute; one with gentler music of around 80 bpm, and one with no music at all. When the uptempo rock played, the test subjects increased their speed, driving 5 to 10 mph faster than when listening to slow music or nothing at all. They also crossed lanes 140 times on average—twice as many times as those listening to slower tunes, suggesting they were more likely to crash. Lead researcher Qiang Zeng says the extra brain power that it takes to process fast rock riffs might distract drivers by increasing their “mental workload.” The scientists put the Green Day song “American Idiot,” which has a bpm of 189, at the top of their most dangerous driving music list; Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” was ranked least dangerous.