Music and Driving: A Deadly Combo or a Match Made in Heaven?

by NPHM | August 6th, 2019

Have you ever experienced turning down your radio so you can concentrate on reading an address as you drive by? It’s more common than you might think, and several studies have been conducted in recent years to try to determine what factor, if any, music plays in car accidents. One found that music played over 85 dB can slow reaction time, which may explain this popular behavior.

How Music May Improve Your Driving Performance

Listening to music you enjoy is proven to help reduce stress, which could otherwise contribute to an increased risk of a collision in busy traffic. Music is also proven to increase your heartrate, which can keep you awake and focused on long stretches of highway.

Some studies have also shown listening to music improves driver performance in some tasks, such as staying within lane markers and matching the speed of the vehicle ahead.

How Music May Hurt Your Driving Performance

Listening to music you enjoy may reduce stress, but listening to music you don’t like can increase it, which has only a negative effect on driving behavior.

For younger, less experienced drivers, listening to music you love may actually do the most harm. When playing a personal playlist vs. playing music provided by researchers, the teenagers in the study made 20% more driving errors.

According to Warren Brodsky, director of music science research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, “Drivers in general are not aware that as they get drawn in by a song, they move from an extra-personal space involving driving tasks, to a more personal space of active listening.” In other words, the driver may begin to pay more attention to the music than the road.

Music that is fast and loud is also considered more distracting than music that is intended to serve as background noise, like smooth jazz, soft rock, or easy listening.

The Best and Worst Music to Listen To while Driving

In general, music with a tempo of 60-80 beats per minute (BPM) is the safest to drive to, because it mimics the average human heart rate. Music with a tempo of 120 BPM or more can result in faster driving speeds and more traffic violations.

Based on that information, we’ve taken a look at the Billboard Hot 100 to learn which songs on the radio today are dangerous to drive to, as well as safe alternatives.

Today’s Hits – Top 5 Most Dangerous Songs to Drive To

  1. bad guy by Billie Eilish – 135 BPM
  2. Talk by Khalid – 136 BPM
  3. Sucker by Jonas Brothers – 138 BPM
  4. If I Can’t Have You by Shawn Mendes – 124 BPM
  5. Sweet But Psycho by Ava Max – 133 BPM

Today’s Hits – Top 5 Safest Songs to Drive To

  1. Old Town Road by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – 67 BPM
  2. Suge by DaBaby – 75 BPM
  3. Beer Never Broke My Heart by Luke Combs – 77 BPM
  4. Earfquake by Tyler, The Creator – 80 BPM
  5. 7 Rings by Ariana Grande – 70 BPM

Next time you hop in the car, load up our Safe Driving Playlist for great songs with a safe tempo.

After a Car Accident, Call Nurenberg Paris

Whether they had the radio playing or not, when another driver’s negligence results in your injury, we want to help you get the compensation you deserve. Get in touch with our auto accident attorneys today for a free consultation.