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That rock 'n' roll music

Music, so it is said, can calm the savage beast. I'm not so sure myself. It's often more a case of music makes the savage beast especially if the blaring noise that emits from some car stereos is anything to go by.

The roads are overcrowded with potentially deaf louts who obviously don't feel the cold as they can drive around in the depths of a Siberian winter with all the windows of their vehicle wide open just so that they can share the latest rap ditty by some, soon-to-be-gunned-down wannabe! And all this on a stereo system that is the same size as a small skyscraper and costs more than the defence budget of a developing country.

So not only do these drivers want to deafen themselves but they also want to make sure that they are going to take innocent bystanders with them!

What's my point? Well, according to a recent survey conducted on behalf of Sainsbury's Bank Car Insurance, listening to some types of music could reduce the chances of drivers having an accident because they feel more relaxed!

But from what I have seen, the only relaxing going on is between the ears of most of these drivers as their deafening cacophony slowly turns their brains to mush!

OK, so not everyone drives around with their stereo volume turned up to 11. Some, more discerning, drivers may plump for the dulcet Irish tones of Mr Wogan and his band of merry Radio 2 presenters. Others may mellow still further by tuning to the more high-brow Classic FM or, dare I say it, Radio 3!

Sainsbury's research showed that 67% (19.6m) of motorists said that they felt more relaxed while listening to music. Most (10.5m) said that they chose to listen to pop music while 3.7m went for classical and 1.4m chose 'RnB'.

Least favourite were hip hop, rap and heavy metal--probably the most annoying types and those often preferred by our drive-by music hooligans.

On the down side, the survey also pointed out that some 2.9m motorists admitted to being distracted while they listened to their favourite tunes behind the wheel! Perhaps they were headbanging along to Elton John or air-guitaring to Simply Red?

Another 2.7m said that they drove faster while listening to music and 1.5m said it made them drive more aggressively. But then hearing Chris de Burgh belt out 'Lady in Red' always makes me want to mow down a few pedestrians too!

The psychologists agree that music can affect driving skills. Professor Steve Stradling from the Transport Research Institute says that by making the driver more relaxed, music can increase confidence levels and therefore make you a safer driver.

He does warn though that the influence is dependent upon the type of music being played and the musical taste of the person driving.

So if you are listening to Robbie Williams and you suddenly feel an uncontrollable urge to partake in some road rage then pop in an Iron Maiden CD and see if that will calm you. Alternatively, if you are being incensed by Eminem and are about to get out of your car and clock one on the approaching traffic warden, stop! Bung in a bit of Vivaldi and relax!

And one final word of warning ... apparently playing music loudly is not guaranteed to keep you awake at the wheel!

Yet, loud music may not keep the driver awake but everyone else within a eight-mile radius will be; their heads thumping to the sound of Tupac or some other such miscreant with a misspelt name who prefers to drone on rather than actually sing anything.

Give me the Crash Test Dummies any day!

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