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Coffee Better Than Music for Driver's Fatigue

Update Date: Sep 29, 2014 06:59 PM EDT
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Blasting music could increase the risk of car accidents in fatigued drivers, according to a new study.

Previous studies reveal that drinking caffeinated beverages and listening to music are two popular ways to fight driver fatigue. However, new research reveals that these two methods aren't equally effective.

Researchers in the latest study titled "Comparison of Caffeine and Music as Fatigue Countermeasures in Simulated Driving Tasks," had participants undergo a simulated driving test that measured driver fatigue levels against the use of caffeine, music or no stimulant.

Participants had to complete three 120-minutes driving sessions over a three-day span at the same time each day. After each test, they were asked to answer questionnaires that were used to score their fatigue levels.

Researchers found that drivers who used either caffeine or music as a stimulant were significantly less tired than those who did not. However, drivers who drank caffeinated beverages to stay awake performed significantly better on driving tasks than those who listened to music or those in the control group.

"Even though both caffeine and music keep drivers feeling more awake, caffeine also helps them maintain good driving performance," Shi Xu Liu, a graduate student in McMaster University's Department of Mechanical Engineering, said in a news release. "Music, on the other hand, can distract drivers, which may explain why driving performance is not significantly improved when it is used as a fatigue countermeasure."

The findings were presented at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2014 Annual Meeting in Chicago.

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