Do you turn on music every single time you drive somewhere in your car? For a lot of people, regardless of age, the answer is yes. Music helps even the shortest drives feel more fun and engaging.
The problem, of course, is that it’s also a distraction. Think of someone who is belting out the lyrics to their favorite song as they drive. They’re not as mentally engaged with driving as they should be, they may take their eyes off of the road and they certainly cannot hear traffic around them. This can lead to an accident.
What researchers have found, though, is that young people tend to handle it a bit better. They think it’s distracting, as do older individuals, but they’re better able to complete complex tasks while listening. Older individuals see more of a performance decrease. This study did not look specifically at car accidents, but the effect could be the same.
The reasons for this are not entirely clear. Some have hypothesized that portable music players (i.e., your smartphone, at least in 2020) have an impact. Younger people don’t see them as a luxury. They always have music going. This gives them plenty of practice doing complex tasks while listening. They can still do it, even if they’re distracted. Older individuals may just have less exposure to constant music levels, so they struggle more.
Regardless, it’s clear that music is a distraction. If you get hit by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your injuries. This can help cover lost wages, medical bills and many other costs.