A new experiment has found that a combination of listening to rap music and drinking strong coffee results in better skills behind the wheel. UK-based behavioral science consultancy CX Lab teamed up with car insurance company U Switch for an experiment measuring 103 drivers’ reaction times under different conditions.
“We partnered with behavioural science consultancy, CX Lab, to create our own unique reaction times experiment, using 16 different clips taken from the official DVSA Hazard Perception Test (HPT),” U Switch said in their report. “Participants were instructed to watch the clips and press space when they spotted a hazard. Participants first carried out the HPT with no sound, to establish a baseline for each as a control condition.”
“These same 16 clips were then edited to include audio, with 6 different music tracks (rap, techno, heavy metal, classical, jazz and R&B), as well as a track featuring noisy children. Participants completed the HPT again, with one of the soundtracks, allowing us to compare this to their control baseline.”
Participants were then asked to complete the HPT 20 minutes after drinking a strong cup of coffee, which was compared to their control time. Their findings showed coffee had the biggest impact of all, with drivers stopping an average of 26 yards earlier than those uncaffeinated after spotting a hazard at 70 mph.
The second biggest significant difference was music, with rap music proving to be the biggest positive impact out of all the genres. This made participants stop an average of 16 yards sooner than no music, while R&B turned out to worsen reaction times by around 4 yards.