The Good Life

Mellow Music and Road Rage

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Here’s some scientific evidence that you’re listening to the right radio station. A study in the journal Ergonomics finds that mellow music may help stave off road rage and switching to mellow music in the car may make you a safer driver.

It was already known that music influences mood and driving styles, and more accidents occur when drivers listen to loud “upbeat” music, possibly because it is more distracting and may cause drivers to go faster.

There were questions about whether a quick or gradual switch from upbeat to downbeat music was most effective in changing drivers’ moods. 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.

Bottom line: promptly changing to soothing music is the most effective way to calm down while driving in stressful conditions that could trigger road rage. The researchers believe their findings could also apply to other stressful settings like the office or the hospital.

 

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