The Dangers Of Using An IPod While Driving

The Dangers Of Using An IPod While Driving. You’ve probably heard plenty about the dangers of texting and driving. You may have even been involved in an accident that was caused by a distracted driver. Many states have attempted to prevent this problem by passing laws prohibiting drivers from doing certain actions while on the road. Thirty nine states, for example, completely ban all texting by drivers. Thirty four states ban all talking on cell phones by novice drivers. While calling and texting are certainly big problems, they are not the only actions at fault for distracted driving. Using an IPod in the car can also distract the driver from what’s in front of him or her on the road.

Almost everyone is guilty of doing it. You are driving down the freeway and suddenly realize you are sick of the song playing through your speakers. You want to change it to that new album you just bought. In order to do so however, you have to take your eyes off the road, pick up the IPod, scroll through the artists, select the album, and find the song.

Many people now choose to use IPods in their cars rather than listen to the radio or put in CD’s. This is no surprise as IPods are small and convenient. You don’t have to filter through radio stations to get through the junk and find a song you like. You can start a song from the beginning and listen to it all the way through, even several times if you want. IPods trump CD’s because you don’t have to carry around that big CD case, or risk dropping an album between the seats where it will be lost forever.

Studies however have shown that changing songs on an IPod while driving can have the same effects that talking on a cell phone does. It causes deviation from the center of a lane, speed changes, and following too closely behind other vehicles.

This isn’t to say that you should never use an IPod while driving, only that you should use it responsibly. Here are some defensive driving tips you can use while listening to your favorite songs and staying safe on the road:

  • Pick out an album or playlist before you ever start driving. If you know you are in for a long drive pick a playlist you know will last that long.
  • If you are sick of the song that is playing don’t try to change songs while you are driving. It will greatly increase your chances of being in an accident.
  • If you are travelling with a passenger tell them to change the song for you.
  • Never tailgate a car, especially of you are handling an IPod. If you put your head down for a couple of seconds that may be all it takes to slam into the back of the car in front of you.
  • Never watch movies, TV shows, or any type of video while you are driving.
  • Always buckle up.

John Carver is a freelance writer for He enjoys listening to music and working on his cars.

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  1. You may be aware that the PA Legislature recently enacted a law that prohibits texting while driving. That prohibition is set to take effect soon. However, many do not know that it is now illegal to drive while wearing headphones. It doesn’t even matter that you may not be listening to anything at the time.

  2. Terry,Thanks for your comment.It’s true that many legislators aren’t “smart” enough to pass the kind of laws we actually need. It is really up to us, the People, to make sure that we get the message across to our representatives about what kind of laws we want, don’t want, and—more importantly—need and don’t need. If they don’t listen to our letters and phone calls, they’ll have to listen at the ballot box.I do question your remark about “too much power”, though. I think that my proposition reduces those very kinds of situations; it replaces “Your Honor, he was texting.” “No I wasn’t!” with something that, as you say, could potentially be backed up with dashcam video. Even without video, the word of the police officer would be treated just as it presently is for speeding tickets, red light and stop sign infractions, or failures to use a turn signal. Sure, the driver can always contest the citation, just like now, but probably with limited success.Again, my approach is to legislate the clearly observable driving behavior, not the more private and less-visible driver behavior.

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