Is it safe to listen to books while driving?
Many people have turned to listening to audiobooks when driving. But is it safe?
Dr Paul Roberts, the deputy director of the University of Western Australia's Centre for Road Safety Research says listening to audiobooks in when driving could present problems by consuming too much of the driver's attention and slowing down reaction times.
A 2018 Canadian study where participants were asked to drive in a simulator while listening to audiobooks proved their reactions differed depending on the driving conditions.
"In a complex environment, people actually reacted more slowly to hazards, and in a more simple environment, they reacted more quickly while listening to audiobooks," he says.
"The critical thing is to engage people to a level that keeps them at that optimal level of cognitive arousal, but that doesn't present too much of a cognitive challenge, where they don't have enough capacity left over to deal with unexpected events while they're driving."
Does this surprise you?