Apparently it is now officially dangerous to listen to sport on the radio while driving.
Research carried out at the University of Leicester and by the TRRL recently has shown that, during particularly fruity sporting moments – such as penalty shootouts in football or last over run chases in T20 cricket – drivers can become so distracted by what they are listening to that they become as bad, or worse, at driving than people who are drunk.
Stopping distances are sometimes doubled because reaction times are that much slower. And heaven forbid the driver listening to a football match who has had a bet on the outcome – because they are apparently more likely to drive into a hedge than someone who has drunk four bottles of scotch, and who hasn’t been able to hear or see anything since 1972.
The thing is, though, the research is clearly right; some of us do get a bit hot under the collar while listening to The Great Sporting Moments on the radio. But so what? When was the last time you found yourself upside down in a field with, say, the tennis finals blaring out at you, not knowing how or why you lost control of your car?
The advice from those who have carried out this research is basically to park up and carry on listening “without risking an incident.” But that’s not entirely practical when you’re on the M1, after a long day at work, and all you really want to do is get home.
Also, where do you draw the line? Is it safe to drive a car if you know you’re in a really bad mood? Is it safe for a female to be driving a Cayenne full of screaming kids to school if, shall we say, she didn’t sleep very well the night before and it is not exactly her favourite time of the month? Is it safe to drive a car if you have just found out that your partner has run off with the postman?
By comparison, I’d say that listening to Test Match Special on the radio while bumbling along the M4 is way less dangerous than any of the above. But if the research they’ve carried out means that we can’t eventually listen to sport on the radio in cars, I’ll get in a very bad mood. And probably end up driving like an idiot anyway.