Mellow Music May Help Stave Off Road Rage

Updated 1/25/2022

Researchers say that a quick change to soft music in your car can make you a safer driver.

According to a study published in Ergonomics, the best way to calm down when driving in stressful situations triggering road rage is to immediately change to soothing music.

It’s been known that music can have a profound effect on mood and driving style. Music that is too loud can cause drivers to be distracted or make them go slower, which could lead to more accidents. Music that is less upbeat can be more relaxing and safer for driving.

However, there were also questions as to whether drivers would respond best to a gradual or quick switch from upbeat music to downbeat. Researchers had volunteers simulate driving in demanding conditions while listening to various types of music.

Participants who changed to mellower music either abruptly or gradually both experienced the same level of calmness. According to a journal news release, participants who switched quickly were calmer and less likely to make driving errors.

These results showed that abrupt music changes during high-demand driving resulted in more physiological calmness, improved driving performance, and thus were safer and more efficient,” concluded Marjolein van den Zwaag (Philips Research Laboratories, Eindhoven) and colleagues from the Netherlands and Stanford University, California.

According to the investigators, their findings could be applied to hospital or office settings to relax or encourage listeners.

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