Since the invention of cars, drivers have had some sort of device to play music even if it was portable. Many years ago, when you drove your car, you only had the radio to listen to. The radio was proven to be a distraction even then. As technology progressed in vehicles, drivers had the option of having 8 tracks, cassette and then CD players installed in their cars. With today’s technology, tapes and CDs are an item for the history books. Now the major media devices are MP3 players and iPods. These small music players have the ability to hold someone’s entire music collection in a small “razor thin” electronic device. Now people can listen to their music on the go…anytime, anywhere, which has posed some problems.
In the last few years, manufactures have been installing inputs in vehicles that allow people to hook up their MP3 or iPod players. If you are not able to have a new car with an MP3 player connection it can be difficult to listen to your music. Lacking the proper connection, some drivers have turned to listening to their players through their earphones while driving their vehicles.
While driving any vehicle, using earphones presents many risks and is illegal in most states.
The most obvious reason this is dangerous is that you cannot hear what is happening around you. With headphones on, it becomes very hard to hear emergency vehicles, and other cars that might honk to alert you of a pedestrian, another vehicle or potential hazards. In addition, wearing headphones prevents you from hearing your own vehicle which may be making noises indicating a mechanical problem.
A final problem with using your MP3 player in your car is the potential distraction, even without the earphones on. Many iPods and MP3 players have enough storage space for your whole music collection. With a great amount of songs to select from, driver’s can be distracted scrolling through songs and picking the “perfect” driving play list.
Not only is it illegal to wear them while driving a vehicle, but it is also illegal to wear them while riding a bicycle. Remember most states apply their driving laws to cyclists, which includes proper use of hand signals, lane obedience, etc. Many times a vehicle is not able to see bike traffic, so it is even more important cyclists hear cars and trucks.
If you do have an iPod or MP3 player and find it impossible to drive without your music, there are a few things you can do to make your drive a bit safer:
1. If your vehicle does not have it hook up consider buying a FM transmitter or a cassette tape adapter. Both of these devices will enable you to play your music player through your stereo.
2. In order to avoid becoming distracted while driving make up some play lists of your favorite songs, this way you will not be scrolling through your music collection trying to pick out songs you like.
3. If you find that you have dropped or need to adjust your music player, find a safe place pull into. If you must pull of the road, pull all the away off and give yourself three feet of extra space margin away from the roadway. This will provide extra protection from a distracted driver who may drift into your lane and with give you a better view when you are ready to get back on the road.
By following these tips you can reduce your distractions and enjoy driving while listening to your favorite music.