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Road noise makes induces fatigue in drivers behind the wheel

Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Monotonous low-frequency noise from the road increases the risk that the driver will fall asleep behind the wheel, according to a new research.

A new noise study from the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, in Linköping, VTI, had come to the conclusion that low frequency, muffled noise from the road increases the risk of car drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.

Sleepy drivers are a contributing factor to about 20 percent of the accidents which occurred in Sweden, writes the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter.
Now VTI together with Linköping University, are in attempt to grind down and smooth the tarmac at some stretches in order to reduce the noise. A previous test section on E4 in Huskvarna has yielded promising results. Although the route was already one of the most noise canceling, so reduced road noise by 1-3 decibels and rolling resistance by 4-7 percent is the current target.

How much sleepiness increases due to the low frequency noise remain obscure and the study results failed to make suggestions. It is clear, however, that short breaks and fresh air does not help. The fatigue continues.

 One theory though is that people associate the low-frequency sound with security, something that goes back when all people heard was very subdued. 

"Reptilian brain reactions are difficult to do anything about. The few studies done on very young children shows that they are happy with the dull background noise," says Anders Genell, an expert on sound and vibration, and also a researcher at VTI.

"A well-insulated car may helps, but it is difficult to completely exclude the low frequency sound," says Anna Anundsvägen from VTI to the paper.
by Team

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