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A bad idea: Wearing headphones while driving

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2021 | Car Accidents

Residents of Chicago and other parts of Illinois may want to know more about a recent study conducted by Ford. The results show that earphones affect spatial recognition. Aside from texting, eating a meal, drinking a beer, shaving and other in-car habits, headphones and earbuds are now an addition to the list of no-no’s while driving. Since earbuds and headphones are illegal in some areas, Ford decided to do a study to see if these devices affect your spatial awareness.

What was the application used in the experiment?

Ford used an app that plays “8D” spatial audio. It makes it realistic by precisely controlled panning and equalization. It was combined with a virtual-reality street that emitted certain sounds, such as an ambulance approaching from behind.

Tested on people with and without headphones

While listening to music, individuals who were wearing the headphones were, on average, 4.2 seconds slower to spot cues than those who were not wearing headphones. Motor vehicle accidents and the hitting of a person on a bike can happen in that short amount of time. Although 4.2 seconds does not seem like much, a lot can happen in that short amount of time.

Participants seem to have some agreement

Of the 2,000 people in the study, 44% said they would not wear earbuds or headphones while driving. With that in mind, Ford is planning to make the app available to everyone. People who drive can see for themselves the effect of wearing the attention-stealing ear devices while driving. The result may be that it will lead to fewer car accidents.

It appears, as the study has shown, that wearing your headphones while driving may be a bad idea. For your safety, as well as that of others, you can add these devices to your list of things not to use while driving.