Let me be clear from the outset: As much as I like driving quickly, I still approve of most road safety measures. There are some laws or regulations with which I disagree and I loath with a vengeance the greedy, underhand money grubbing by councils and the like, but it is what it is.
These days cars have never been safer. In the past, vehicles broke down more and were generally less reliable. Accidents happened, although, for the most part it was human error. Nothing much has changed; the only difference being that – and you’ve all seen this – many accidents are caused by an increasingly brainless population and stupidity is not something you can legislate against. What we need is far more rigorous driving standards. Instead we get all manner of daft alternatives.
I was amazed when I heard about this but it is in fact true. Some wild-haired boffin in a lab coat somewhere has composed or invented a piece of music called Safe in Sound which is alleged to be the safest ‘tune’ to drive to. It is supposed to encourage alertness, safer driving and better car control, although we are not told how. I have heard it and it is the automotive equivalent of elevator musak which, as we know, is only used to cover the sound of unsocial lift farting. It is a tune without melody. It is André Rieu on Mogadon. It is anti-music.
This daftness is not new. For all the time I have been on the planet, since the days of the slim, hip-swivelling Elvis, motorists of all ages have been told that rock music adversely affects your driving. This may or may not be true, I have no scientific basis on which to form an opinion. Certainly, if you bang out Bohemian Rhapsody and drive like the gents in the above photo then, okay, maybe yes. It’s a fact that most young people have done this once but as one ages one doesn’t keep on with the head-banging for fear of looking a twat.
How do ‘they’ – the mysterious ‘they’ – plan to get us to play this tuneless tune when driving? Will it help or simply render us drowsy at the wheel through crushing boredom? Will it be compulsory and be set to start playing as soon as the key is turned or button pressed? Surely the solution is not to play music in a moving car at all in that case? We should be told. I can imagine that deep in the bowels of the restaurant and pole-dancing bar next to the EU headquarters our MEP’s will actively be considering this whilst filling out their expenses.
This could seriously happen. The EU is after all the antithesis of fun. They would happily eradicate the rock music out of our driving lives if they are persuaded that the joy of easy listening could reduce accidents.
This is a genuine scientific experiment on which real money has been spent. Does any one for one second think that the public are going to voluntarily download it? Even your Gran would draw the line. Will driving instructors use it to calm the nerves of their students? We know it is dangerous and daft to use devices when driving – or at least some of us do – so how far do you take it? Life is full of distractions but most of us manage to walk and talk at the same time regardless.
Just out of spite I commend to you Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’ so you can make up your own mind. It is the greatest driving tune ever recorded. You may have other suggestions but you would be wrong. In any case Mr Clever Scientist, it has already been done. Have you not heard of Enya? Geoff Maxted