RUESSELSHEIM - 'More comfort means greater active safety, because a relaxed driver is a safer driver,' says Sieglinde Schwartze, a professor at the Institute for Occupational and Social Medicine at Heinrich-Heine University in Duesseldorf.
'Modern man is incessantly plagued by undesirable and often superfluous acoustic information, with a sound intensity so high that it does him little good,' says Schwartze. The results are aggression, dissatisfaction and loss of attention.
'From about 65dB, reactions of the autonomic nervous system are likely. Sounds above 85dB are damaging to the inner ear. Even at low volumes sound can have a considerable effect on people,' he says.
Reactions to sound include increased breathing rate, heart rate, hormone production, and muscular tension. Certain organs restrict their activity to allow other organs to work at maximum performance, says Schwartze.
Vibrations can cause impaired vision, motion sickness and muscle tension - and the longer the journey, the more tired and stiff the occupants will be.
Schwartze says 'it is good news' that automotive development is taking account of advances in noise and vibration research. Achieving greater levels of comfort for drivers is more necessary than before because of 'the increasing stress to which modern man is exposed in his everyday life.'