How loud should your car's speakers be?

Know the dangers
by Jason Tulio | Oct 5, 2017

Music can be therapeutic when you're driving. It's soothing, keeps your mind preoccupied when you're stuck in traffic, and puts you in a good mood when it's a song you like. There's nothing wrong with turning the radio on whenever you drive, but what about when the sound gets too loud?

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You know what we're talking about: Those loud subwoofer set-ups where the bass makes your bedroom walls reverberate as it passes your house. Given that you need to keep your eyes and ears focused on the road, noise like that can be distracting. But even turning the volume up too much on stock speakers can be detrimental. 

Need proof? Here's a little experiment from the UK that shows how distracting loud music can be when you're driving. Take note that they're only parking here.



This phenomenon is backed by science, too. Test results published in the book Driving With Music: Cognitive-Behavioral Implications show that drivers listening to familiar music at reasonable volume have faster reaction times to cars accelerating or braking in front of them. The National Safety Council in the US, meanwhile, says that "loud music can prevent drivers from hearing emergency sirens, and cognitive processing can lead to a decrement in vehicle control."

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Loud music, much like texting, is a distraction that can take your attention away from the road. So what's the limit to how loud you should play your sounds? Well, the law in the US state of Florida says it's illegal to amplify your car radio's sound to the point that it's plainly audible from 25 feet or more away. It sounds reasonable enough. There's no reason that someone 25 feet away should be able to hear you playing "Despacito" from inside your car. 

So by all means, enjoy your music on the road, but do it at a safe level. Your ears and fellow motorists will thank you.

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PHOTO: Freeimages/Michal Zacharzewski
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