Research finds Wagner dangerous while driving

2nd November 2005, Comments 0 comments

2 November 2005, HAMBURG - If you want to get home safely you should definitely avoid listening to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" or having a row with your partner in the passenger seat.

2 November 2005

HAMBURG - If you want to get home safely you should definitely avoid listening to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" or having a row with your partner in the passenger seat.

These are among the major distractions faced by motorists, who appear to have their attention focused on everything else but driving a motor car while taking calls from their cell phone, programming the navigation equipment, smoking a cigarette or changing the music cassette/CD.

Germany's ACE auto association quoted a recent poll by Emnid research which revealed that drivers are most distracted by having a row with their spouse or other passengers (33.7 per cent) followed by picking up their cell phone (10.4 per cent).

But Britain's Royal Automobile Club (RAC) went even further by releasing a blacklist of ten music titles that it found engendered reckless driving and road rage. Topping the list: Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries".

The RAC quoted researchers at the Memorial University in Newfoundland, Canada, which found that drivers appear to be totally taken away by the loud and quick pace of Wagner which lowered reaction time in a critical situation by up to 20 per cent.

The motoring organisation recommended in-car entertainment such as "Mad World" by Gary Jules and "Come away with me" by Nora Jones as safe songs to listen to. Tunes to avoid also included "Firestarter" by The Prodigy and "Red Alert" by Basement Jaxx.

Guenther Rotter, Professor of Music Sciences at the University of Dortmund in Germany, asked 1,300 drivers to listen to different music while observing traffic situations in a simulator. Listening to music appeared to increase substantially the accident risk in stop-and-go city traffic and other difficult traffic situations.

Rotter's recommendation: switch the radio off while in town. However when travelling on a country road certain music is beneficial.

"It should be music with medium stimulation and the volume should be moderate," he says.

In general, if music is above 60 beats per minute, listeners experience a faster heart rate and increased blood pressure irrespective of whether it's opera, classical or the latest techno, the Canadian researchers found.

German authorities meanwhile are looking at banning smoking at the wheel. Using a cell phone whilst driving has been prohibited since 2001.

Some legislators are also demanding that only navigation equipment that can be programmed while the car is standing be allowed, after an incident in Hamburg where a driver claimed his navigation system directed him down a stairway.

© DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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