Thanks to an aggressive South Carolina Department of Transportation campaign, most Palmetto State motorists recognize the risks of distracted driving. Maintaining focus, though, is about more than stashing your smartphone until you reach your destination.

Researchers have found a link between music volume and car wreck risk. To boost your odds of staying safe behind the wheel, you should understand why loud music may be dangerous.

Mental distractions

According to estimates, roughly 10 Americans lose their lives every day because of distracted driving. While manual distractions, such as sending a text message, are often to blame, mental distractions also regularly play a role in motor vehicle crashes. Listening to loud music may divert your attention from the driving task. The same is true if you regularly listen to up-tempo tunes.

Visual interference

To drive safely, you must keep your eyes on the road. That is, to avoid obstacles, you must first spot them soon enough to give you time for a defensive maneuver. While more research is necessary, some studies indicate that loud noises may interfere with a driver’s visual acuity. So, if your music is too loud, you may not see an object even if you are looking directly at it.

Auditory interference

Because daily commutes can quickly become monotonous, you likely enjoy listening to playlists, radio stations or podcasts. Still, there are noises inside and outside your vehicle you may need to hear. For example, the sound of engine sputtering may induce you into pulling to the side of the road. Similarly, you may need to stop to let an emergency vehicle pass. If the music in your vehicle is overly loud, you may miss vital auditory cues.

If you find yourself next to a vehicle with its stereo thumping, you may want to give it some space or take a detour to avoid the possibility of a wreck with a distracted driver.