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Tuning to football while driving 'is dangerous'

sports Updated: May 27, 2009 17:21 IST

Football fans, please give a second thought the next time you tune into a live match while driving, for a new study says that listening to soccer on the radio while behind the wheel is a dangerous distraction.

Researchers at Leicester University have carried out the study and found that motorists tend to be far more erratic when tuned into a football match, British newspaper 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

"It is widely accepted that the distraction of talking on a hand-held mobile phone might lead to accidents, but other activities may have a similar impact, like listening to sport on the radio," lead researcher Prof Michael Pont said.

Their report, entitled Football Focus, has shown that around two million motorists have had an accident or near miss while listening to sport on the radio.

But, to be sure, the researchers carried out a test, involving a group of motorists, using a driving simulator.

Football fans and non-football followers were asked to drive down a motorway in the simulator while listening to a live match on the radio. The study found the fans' driving behaviour varied considerably, sometimes erratically, as the match progressed.

Football fans had more significant changes in speed while listening and even got closer to other vehicles on the road, almost tailgating. In contrast, the casual listeners' driving was consistent throughout.

"The results we obtained suggest that, particularly during high-pressure situations within the games, there was a very marked impact on the behaviour of the subjects in this study," Prof Pont said.