Music and Driving: Can Different Music Choices Affect Your Driving Habits?

music and car accidentsWhether you take long trips regularly, or you simply drive back and forth to work, you likely listen to music while you are driving. During this time, you may wonder, “Can different music choices affect your driving habits?” Studies have looked at this question and found that your music choices can influence how you drive.

Negative Feelings Toward Song= Negative Driving Experience

When it comes to music, your feelings concerning the song can influence your driving. In a UK study from 2013, eight people, four men and four women, each drove 500 miles. For the first half of the trip, they did not listen to music at all. The second half of the trip, they all listened to music. The study found that listening to music you do not like can be stressful and a distraction, which will negatively influence the person’s driving. The good news for drivers is that this means if a passenger wants to listen to a song you do not like, you can legitimately claim the song could be dangerous.

Tempo Matters

This same study found that the tempo of the music also influenced the driver’s driving. For example, faster songs lead to more excitement, which can then cause the person to concentrate on the song more than on the road. Along with that, a faster, upbeat tempo can cause drivers to unconsciously speed up to match the song’s beat. That does not mean slower beats are ideal either. According to the study, slower songs can cause a person to relax too much, thereby making the person less alert. The ideal driving song will have between 60-80 beats per minute, which mimics the beat of the human heart.

Looking at a few of the specific drivers in the study, one woman drove faster and engaged in last-minute breaking when she was listening to hip-hop music. A male driver listening to a heavy metal playlist drove much faster than the other drivers. While it might not be shocking to find that both of these genres negatively influenced these drivers’ driving, many people might be surprised to learn that classical music actually caused one male and one female driver to drive more erratically than when they were not listening to any music at all.

The Canadian Study

A Canadian study, also from 2013, in many ways supported the information from the UK study. In the study, 1,000 Canadians were asked what they like to listen to while driving as well as their driving records and habits. Heavy metal listeners were the most likely to be pulled over for speeding. Heavy metal listeners and hip-hop listeners were also the most likely to have been charged with careless driving. Charges of stunt driving, similar to a reckless driving charge in the United States, was most common among hip-hop music listeners. The Canadian study also found that country music listeners and those who listen to classic rock were the most likely to be charged with a DUI.

Best Driving Songs

If you are going to listen to music while driving, you likely want to know what songs are the safest. According to the UK study, these are the Top 10 Best Songs for Driving:

  1. “Come Away with Me” – Norah Jones
  2. “Billionaire” – Featuring Bruno Mars with Travie McCoy
  3. “I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz
  4. “The Scientist” – Coldplay
  5. “Tiny Dancer” – Elton John
  6. “Cry Me a River” – Justin Timberlake
  7. “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Aerosmith
  8. “Karma Police” – Radiohead
  9. “Never Had a Dream Come True” – S Club 7
  10. “Skinny Love” – Bon Iver

While these are songs that are deemed the safest to listen to while driving, there ranking is mainly based upon their tempo. If there are any songs on this list that you do not like or that bring about negative feelings, listening to that song could bring about stress and negatively impact your driving. Therefore, it is not a “safe” song for your driving experience.

Worst Driving Songs

Of course, if there are songs that are considered the best songs to listen to while driving, there are also songs that are considered the worst. Here are the 10 songs deemed the worst for driving:

  1. “Hey Mama” – The Black Eyed Peas
  2. “Dead on Arrival” – Fall Out Boy
  3. “Paper Planes” – M.I.A
  4. “Walkie Talkie Man” – Steriogram
  5. “Paradise City” – Guns N’ Roses
  6. “How You Remind Me” – Nickelback
  7. “Hit the Road, Jack” – Ray Charles
  8. “Get Rhythm” – Johnny Cash
  9. “Heartless” – Kanye West
  10. “Young, Wild and Free” – Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa

While you can control what you listen to while driving, you cannot control other people’s driving and music listening habits. If you were injured in a car accident caused by another driver, contact us. We will help you fight to get you the compensation you deserve.