A new study conducted out by the South China University of Technology and Guangdong University of Technology found that people who listen to music over 120bpm were riskier drivers.
Researchers found that those listening to light or no music changed lanes up to 70 times in an hour, whereas those who listened to rock music changed lanes up to 140 times an hour. The latter also went about 5mph faster and in some cases 10mph.
Those who listened to light music drove comparably to those who had no music on.
“Rock music is often characterised as having a fast tempo and high sound volume . . . The findings are useful for the development of effective driver education strategies — in particular, a publicity programme that could enhance public awareness of the negative impact of music listening on driving performance.” – Qiang Zen (co-author of the study)
Volume up or volume down?
Top five most dangerous songs
- “American Idiot” – Green Day
- “Party in the USA” – Miley Cyrus
- “Mr Brightside” – The Killers
- “Don’t Let Me Down” – The Chainsmokers
- “Born to Run” – Bruce Springsteen
Top five safest songs
- “Stairway to Heaven” – Led Zeppelin
- “Under the Bridge” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
- “God’s Plan” – Drake
- “Africa” – Toto
- “Location” – Khalid
Safe drive, stay alive
Making the right choices in what you listen to is important. If you use Spotify, Apple Music or any other music streaming service, why not create a driving playlist? Choose songs that have a similar BPM to a heartbeat, which sits between approximately 60-100BPM, as this is what experts say is best.
Chartered psychologist Dr Simon Moore says, “Fast music can cause excitement and arousal that can lead people to concentrate more on the music than the road. In addition, a fast tempo can cause people to subconsciously speed up to match the beat of the song”.
According to Dr Moore, the optimum tempo of a song for safe driving should mimic the human heartbeat. The safest songs for the road are within 60-100 bpm and not too extreme in energy in either direction (not too much and not too little).
If you’re a radio fan, then Smooth Radio or Classic FM is the best as the general BPM and energy was soothing. Beware Radio X, Heart or Absolute Radio as these had the highest proportion of ‘dangerous’ songs according to Moneybarn. They took a random sample of 15 songs from the most popular UK radio stations to see which had the highest number of dangerous songs.