Anorak News | Driven To Distraction

Driven To Distraction

by | 14th, April 2004

‘IT is not known what was in the tape player in Princess Diana’s car when it careered out of control and into the wall of the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris.

‘Okay, so that’s Norah Jones followed by the Sugababes’

Knowing the Queen of Hearts, it was most probably Chris De Burgh’s Lady In Red, Phil Collins’ Against All Odds or even – and this would be ironic – Elton John’s Candle In The Wind.

But then again maybe it was Wagner’s The Ride Of The Valkyries, confirmed this morning by the RAC Foundation as the most dangerous piece of music to listen to while driving.

According to the Times, Canadian researchers have discovered that motorists who listen to music on their car stereos at high volume, particularly tracks above 60bpm, run a high risk of an accident.

Second to Wagner (and, one suspects, more prevalent in the mean streets of south London) is the Prodigy’s Firestarter, followed by Basement Jaxx’s Red Alert, Faithless’ Insomnia and Verdi’s Dies Irae.

The researchers gave people physical and mental tasks to perform while listening to music varying from 53 decibels (the noise of a normal office environment) to 95 decibels (the noise of a working oilrig).

At higher noise levels, reaction times decreased significantly, as did speed of decision-making.

Consultant psychologist Conrad King said the findings suggested that motorists should be careful in choosing what music they listened to when in the car.

‘It doesn’t matter if you listen to opera, classical or the latest rave music,’ he tells the Times. ‘It’s the speed of the beat that counts.’

For instance, in that famous scene in Apocalypse Now, Kilgore would have been better advised to have had Gary Jules’s cover of Mad World or Lemar’s Another Day blasting out of the helicopters as they landed on the beach in Vietnam…’

Posted: 14th, April 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink