Tips, Tricks & Trends

Listening to Music Too Loud in the Car Can Prove Fatal

Jamming out in the car can make your daily commute less dull and can make a road trip feel like you’re in a movie. When the music is too loud, however, it can actually be dangerous, not just to you but to other drivers. The world of sound systems can provide speakers loud enough to make your car shake entire houses, but that doesn’t mean you should crank the music volume up every time you get behind the wheel. In fact, it can be a bad idea for several reasons and even put your safety at risk.

Missing emergency vehicles

Sirens and alarms can be loud and annoying, but they are selected as the attention-getting noise of emergency vehicles because they are uncommon. In traffic or roads that don’t have great all-around visibility, you may hear an emergency vehicle like a police car or even an ambulance moments before you see them. But, if your music is too loud, you might not notice until the emergency vehicle is right next to you.

If you’re going through an intersection while an emergency vehicle is crossing, it can put you and the driver at risk, and the few moments it takes to get out of the way can make a big difference for the people waiting for the first responder, too.

A Chinese man views a car audio system at an automobile exhibition | China Photos, Getty Images

Hearing other cars

Emergency vehicles aren’t the only thing you might miss out on if your music is too loud. While car horns can be used rudely in cars, they can also be used to alert other drivers to potential hazards or problems on the road. If your music is too loud, you may not hear another driver trying to warn you of potential problems. For me, that has meant a driver not hearing a honk as they slowly backed up onto our Lotus in a parking lot — a honk they would have heard if their music hadn’t been at top volume.

A used car after a car accident
A BMW car after an accident | Joan Slatkin/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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Is driving with music too loud dangerous?

The simple answer is, yes, driving with music too loud is dangerous. Enjoying the music in your car can totally change the mood of your entire day, and luckily for us the availability of BlueTooth and other connectivity like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto let us pick music and set playlists for our daily drive or long road trip. Whether you like to enjoy a private rock concert or host your very own car karaoke, listening to music too loudly can distract us from what’s going on with the road, other cars, and pedestrians.

Iranian chess arbiter Shohreh Bayat is picked up from Newcastle train station by a friend from the chess community in Newcastle, England | Hollie Adams, Getty Images

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While we all enjoy jamming out in the car, except for those really long days where sometimes just the silence is nice, keeping the volume at a responsible level is important. It might not be as much fun to lower the volume, but it is safer, and when you’re behind the wheel of a multi-ton machine, safety should always come first.