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Are You Guilty of this Common (yet Dangerous) Habit While Driving?

We all have that temptation to get into our vehicle, turn the stereo up and sing our hearts out every now and then. It could be the fact that you may be alone to not shy from any self-consciousness you may have or that you just want to hear yourself sing, whatever the reason it could be – Karaoke and driving does not go hand in hand.

We often think of the inside of our cars as our own personal space and forget that there are many surrounding factors like other drivers nearby. In our personal space, we often like to feel comfortable by singing a song or quoting a movie character among other things. Therefore, immediately when we enter the car and start singing or doing other things it’s ok. The real problem begins when we start the car and begin driving.

What people may observe as a harmless sing along to your favorite tunes are actually the dangers that they inevitably put themselves into. Vehicle owners are always quick to judge a vehicle based on its appearance and looks and some even critique the car based on the installed stereo system. What they are somewhat oblivious to is that there are quite a few instances when karaoke has routed for the worst case circumstances. Taking a look at the Iranian karaoke incident back at 2014, it’s clearly based on the psychology of the person as well as the circumstances they are thrust upon at that moment.

When we classify the cause and effect of this particular issue, the situation holds up in two classifiable areas:

Vehicle Features

Vehicles are now fitted with the latest and greatest types of stereo systems and most are even modified with in-car video and surround system audio. Looking at the best selling cars this year, it’s clear to see that the Toyota Camry and the Ford F series have come into the limelight. These cars are highly customizable and offer various forms of in-car entertainment that inevitably raise the risks of driving it to the driver and those it comes in contact with.

Cars are generally not meant to be completely soundproof to make sure that the occupants can hear the outside world, even faintly. This is a standing instruction to car makers to ensure that outside noises can be heard to help the driver know the state of affairs around him. But, as we go ahead and façade that with music, we not only jeopardize ourselves but everyone around us. When you blast music inside the car, it’s similar to filling up a solid hollow box with audio. The fact that you cannot hear what’s happening outside makes you unaware of oncoming traffic that you fail to see but could have easily heard. This stands also for pedestrians and even wayward pets.

Audio perception is a fundamental necessity in driving a car and you don’t see people living with deafness drive a car. They are a serious hazard and licenses are specially issued based on the type of car and modifications made. The fact that you are in complete shutdown from outside noises due to the music playing inside, you are in fact placing yourself in their shoes. This lack of awareness leads to dire circumstances to the driver when he is forced to make quick decisions that could have been easily dealt with.

Distraction to the Driver

We can safely say that it’s not completely the car’s fault. The person driving the car also has his share to deal with.

Driving a car requires you to be alert and in constant knowledge of the surroundings. When you put on music in the car and sing along to it, you are dividing your attention into two fronts. Music subliminally calms and relaxes you and inadvertently takes up some of your attention. Adding to that, when you include karaoke, in the form of a video screen or your smartphone, you classify yourself in the same criteria of texting and driving.

Considering statistics, 27% of auto collisions involved cell phone use. Karaoke is basically in the same boat as using your smartphone. When you distract yourself, even for a moment, for looking up the next line of the song, you blind yourself from any possibility that could happen at that time. Your attention is quickly shifting from the road to the screen, constantly. As you continue to do so, you are intentionally putting yourself in a dangerous situation that is exactly the same as texting and driving.

Apart from that, why we mention psychology of the driver is based on the songs he listens to. There are a majority of factors to consider. Looking into examples, maybe you are listening to your wedding song and singing along to it. Maybe you decided to relive that day in your mind and what could possibly go wrong, right? Songs stick to your mind to help to remember situations quite easily. So, when you sing along to songs that are linked to certain times in your life, you may unknowingly relive that moment in your mind for a bleak moment. Not only does that affect your conscious decisions while on the road, but may sometimes completely sweep you off the state you’re in, before listening to it. This goes evenly with the type of music you may be listening to and singing to it.

Commitment to Safe Driving is Key

With such conditions and scenarios to consider, singing karaoke and driving do not mix quite well. When you choose to drive, it’s best to put the audio to a minimum and your concentration on the road. Karaoke in the car is an easily avoidable activity that can be corrected with just not choosing to do so. Music does help make a long drive seem less intense, but choose to do to a bare minimum avoiding the use of screens and cellphones. Shifting attention is the basis of most auto collisions, whatever the cause of shifting focus may be. Karaoke belongs to that category and the best course of action is to avoid it. If you have been injured due to driver negligence, seek legal help.