GETTING MORE TALE #540: I Can Drive 55
In 25 years of driving, I believe I have only had three speeding tickets. Apparently, I can drive 55. Most of the time.
I took driver training at Canada Driving School, and there is one thing I’ll never forget from one of the in-class sessions.
“Music can have an influence on your driving,” said the instructor. “Fast and upbeat music can trick your brain into driving faster without realizing it. Keep an eye on your speedometer and don’t listen to AC/DC if this is a problem!”
A couple months later I had my license and was driving myself to and from school in my dad’s Plymouth Sundance. There was no graduated licensing in Ontario back then. I was driving alone on the expressway. Of course, I loved having a car stereo to myself. In short order it was proven that listening to AC/DC was not a problem for me. Instead of weighing down the accelerator pedal, AC/DC kept me calm in traffic. Silence made me nervous but music soothed. If I was speeding it had nothing to do with the song on the tape deck. If anything, I tended to slow myself down a bit so my trip could take a little longer, and I could finish a song.
In fact, recent studies have shown that, generally speaking, if music is an influence on driving it tends to be a positive influence. I can’t say I’m surprised.
Sure, I’ve admitted to air drumming and so on in the car. This is usually at red lights though, so I’m letting myself off.
I like to listen to live albums in the car. They work very well in that noisy environment. Instead of silence between songs that lets in all that road noise, you hear only the screaming of a crowd. In addition, the length of a live album works well for highway driving. If I’m heading to the Toronto area, a typical double live album will easily get a full play on the road. At home, I don’t always have time to listen to a double live album in one sitting.
Facing the roads on a daily basis in this town can be like taking your life in your hands. I’ve whined and moaned about the drivers here and it has been getting worse. The 401 is undergoing heavy construction and drivers have a loose grasp on what lanes are lanes and what are not. It’s treacherous, and more and more drivers are thinking only about their commute time rather than driving like a sane person. Instead of weaving in and out desperately trying to get a little further ahead in the pack, I tend to stay in one lane as much as possible. Perhaps this is the calming effect of good music. I don’t need to race home if there is a good song I want to finish. Maybe the racing guys should put on a good song, too.
I’ll admit it, driving is far from my favourite activity. My favourite kind of day off involves no driving anywhere. There are estimates that we spend about five years of our lives locked in our cars on the road. I prefer to think of that as five years of road testing some amazing albums. I would also argue that roughly 50% of the music reviews here are mikeladano.com were brainstormed while listening to the albums in the car.
Quite frankly, I don’t understand the speed demons. Where are you going in such a hurry? Maybe you should have left a little earlier. Some music in the car makes the time fly easier.