Truck driving is a demanding job, putting significant strain on the lower back and legs—and that’s before you consider the mental toll of truck driving. Truck drivers have to engage in intense concentration to drive safely, since they’re in control of a vehicle that weighs dozens of times more than the vehicles around it.
Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that many truck drivers turn to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and other forms of audio entertainment to make the hours pass by more quickly. Find out how these forms of entertainment can actually contribute to accidents, and if you’ve been injured in a truck collision, call Bailey Javins & Carter’s Atlanta office at 678-210-3292.
Music and Audio Are Cognitive Distractions
There are three types of distractions: cognitive, manual, and visual. Audio entertainment isn’t a visual distraction, and it’s only a manual distraction if a driver has to physically change songs, channels, or chapters. However, it is absolutely a cognitive distraction. Your brain must be focused on the road, just like your hands and eyes.
When a driver is listening to an audiobook or podcast, it’s entirely possible to get wrapped up in it. This may lead a driver’s attention to wander to the point that they miss signs about road conditions, miss their exit, fail to see obstacles in their path or take too long to react to obstacles.
It only takes a few seconds to cause a crash. The time it takes to switch your focus from an audiobook to the crash you’ve observed several hundred feet in front of you could mean the difference between navigating around the crash or making it even worse.
It’s all about finding the sweet spot of entertainment—it must be entertaining enough to keep you awake and not lull you to sleep, but not so interesting that it negatively impacts your ability to drive.
Certain Types of Audio Can Change How You Drive
The audio that a driver chooses to listen to can have an observable effect on their driving skills. Consider a driver listening to fast-paced rap music, a nail-biting true crime story, or a thriller audiobook. These types of audio can drive up the heart rate, causing a driver to speed up intentionally. This type of music can ramp up your adrenaline levels and actually change how you react to changes in your environment and road conditions.
Some Audio Choices Lead to Fatigue
The opposite can happen with boring audiobooks, meditation tracks, and classical music. Drivers listening to these types of audio can quickly move from relaxed to tired to fatigued. This ramps up the likelihood of a crash even more, as fatigue consistently contributes to thousands of crashes every single year across the United States. When you listen to meditation tracks, they often warn you not to operate heavy machinery while listening. This isn’t just for show—media intended to be relaxing can have a physiological effect on you.
Audio entertainment can be an excellent tool for truck drivers. When you’re spending eight to ten hours on the road almost every day, you have to do something to keep yourself entertained and awake. However, not all forms of media are created equal. Some media can make you drive more aggressively or recklessly, increasing the likelihood of a collision.
Other forms of media might be so calming that they lull you to sleep. This is especially dangerous for truck drivers, who are in control of up to 40 tons of mass. It’s crucial that all drivers, including truck and passenger vehicle drivers, make smart and safe listening choices. This may mean saving your favorite podcasts to listen to at home, shifting away from heart-pounding audiobooks or music genres, and looking for something that is just entertaining enough to keep you going.
Hurt in a Truck Accident? Call Bailey Javins & Carter Today
Have you been injured in a trucking accident? Depending on who is at fault, you could be entitled to compensation. The Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Bailey Javins & Carter are ready to help you start your claim. Set up a consultation now by calling us at 678-210-3292 or sending us a message .