Since the invention of cars, drivers have had some sort of device for playing music, even though it was portable. Many years ago, when you were driving your car, you only had to listen to the radio. The radio turned out to be a distraction even then. As technology progressed in vehicles, drivers had the option of installing 8-track, cassette and CD players in their cars. With today’s technology, cassettes and CDs are a part of the history books. The main multimedia devices now are MP3 players and iPods. These tiny music players have the capacity to hold anyone’s entire music collection in a small “thin razor” electronic device. Now people can listen to their music on the go … anytime, anywhere, which poses some challenges.
In recent years, manufacturers have installed inputs in vehicles that allow people to plug in their MP3 players or iPods. If you are not able to have a new car with an MP3 player connection, it may be difficult to listen to your music. Lacking a proper connection, some drivers turned to listening to their players through their headphones while driving their vehicle.
While driving a vehicle, the use of headphones presents many risks and is illegal in most states.
The most obvious reason why this is dangerous is that you cannot hear what is going on around you. With the headphones on, it becomes very difficult to hear emergency vehicles and other cars that might honk to alert you of a pedestrian, other vehicle, or potential dangers. Additionally, wearing headphones prevents you from hearing your own vehicle which may make noises indicating a mechanical problem.
One final issue with using your MP3 player in your car is the potential distraction, even without the headphones. Many iPods and MP3 players have enough storage space for your entire music collection. With a large amount of songs to choose from, drivers can be distracted by scrolling through songs and choosing the “perfect” driving playlist.
Not only is it illegal to wear them while driving a vehicle, it is also illegal to wear them while riding a bicycle. Remember that most states enforce their driving laws for cyclists, which includes the proper use of hand signals, keeping the lanes, etc. Often times a vehicle cannot see bicycle traffic, so it is even more important that cyclists hear cars and trucks.
If you have an iPod or MP3 player and can’t drive without your music, there are steps you can take to make your player a little safer:
1. If your vehicle did not plug it in, consider purchasing an FM transmitter or cassette adapter. These two devices will allow you to play your music player through your stereo.
2. In order to avoid being distracted while driving compose playlists of your favorite songs, that way you won’t be scrolling through your music collection trying to choose the songs you like.
3. If you find that you have fallen or need to adjust your music player, find a safe place. If you need to stray from the road, all move away and give yourself three extra feet of pavement clearance. This will provide additional protection against a distracted driver who may drift into your lane and give you a better view when you are ready to hit the road.
By following these tips, you can reduce your distractions and enjoy driving while listening to your favorite music.