When Was the Last Time You Drove Without the Radio On?

Since I’m using my motorcycle as my main source of transportation I don’t listen to the radio anymore while commuting. I didn’t even notice is absence until one day I was listening to the radio at home and realized that I didn’t recognize a number of the songs. Since I only listen to one radio station, I’m normally pretty up-to-date with the music that they play. It was sort of a shock to realize that I hadn’t really had the radio on for nearly two months.

Now that I’m aware of it, however, I don’t care much to have the radio on while driving. When I’m in the car with my wife, I often just turn it off. I find it so much nicer to have fewer distractions in the car, which allows me to focus on other things. Without background noise, I’m better able to be involved in the conversation that I have with my wife. I have an opportunity to listen to myself think, whether I’m working through a problem, replaying a conversation I had earlier in the day, or just having an internal dialogue about my day.

It’s not something that I think about when I’m on the motorcycle. I don’t miss having background noise (I like hearing the rumble of the engine). If I were to take a long trip, especially on an interstate, I might consider bringing along the Mp3 player, only because of the boredom that interstates provide.

*Disclaimer*Even though I like music, I am by no means an audiophile. To me, music is background noise. I don’t keep up with trends and I don’t know bands or song names. I’m not saying that you should stop listening to music, but to be aware that sometimes it’s on just out of habit. *End Disclaimer*

This is not a new thing for me. I’ve always preferred to have the radio off. When I’m riding with someone, I prefer to have less distractions so that I can focus on the conversation we’re having. When I’m by myself, I enjoy the opportunity to focus on my thoughts. There are already enough things to distract you when driving, we shouldn’t need to add to them.

Do you ever turn off the radio when driving? Give it a try, spend some time with your thoughts, see what you have to say.

5 thoughts on “When Was the Last Time You Drove Without the Radio On?

  1. Rob O. says:

    Earlier this month we took a fairly long road trip (relative to us homebodies, a 7 hour drive is noteworthy) and never turned the radio on nor played MP3s the entire time. I’ll admit that I almost always have music on when I’m in my office or even driving alone, but when all three of us are in the car, it all becomes too much. (My 4 yr old is prone to chattering away constantly!)

    As much as I do love music and enjoy listening to it in the car when conditions are right, I do definitely draw the line at other electronic in-car entertainment – namely DVDs. Many (almost all) of our friends who have children have DVD-equipped vehicles. As a Gen Xer, I was raised taking lengthy road trips with the family without any of the “necessary” trappings that kids have today. We had a book and a couple of small toys and we just occupied ourselves as best – and quietly – as we could. (In fact, we didn’t even always have or use air conditioning in the car.) I’m believe that kids’ boredom can be a spark for tremendous imagination.

    To my great delight – and for which I take NO credit – my son is still very content riding in the car, singing songs, talking, reading books, and playing on his own so I want to do whatever I can to stave off the almost-inevitable in-car technology creep.

  2. Rebecca Burgener says:

    I’m almost always with my children when in the van, and I find that if I try to listen to the radio or my mp3 player, they are interrupting so much that I get irritated. So I had to make a decision. Should I teach the kids not to speak to me while in the van or abandon listening to something other than them during that time? I said goodbye to the mp3s. Van rides are bonding time for the most part, although I do take advantage of audio stories for their entertainment.

    I saw someone recently riding a motorcycle with his radio blaring so he had a chance to hear it. Really, I would worry about disturbing others.

    • Matthew says:

      My first motorcycle had a radio on it, and while it was nice to have, I only used it once or twice, when I knew that it wouldn’t disturb others. Nice in theory, but not something that I actually like.

      I think that you made a wise decision. I have some fond memories from car rides with Mom when I was younger.

  3. Andrew @ Primer says:

    Matthew, it’s so crazy that you mention this. For the last two weeks I’ve been noticing how I automatically turn the radio on a few minutes into my drive and I started wondering why I did that. I’ve since made a conscious decision to drive without the distraction, it’s been quite a change.

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