Music To Our Ears

danceDance, techno, RnB, pop, rock, classical, country – what sort of music do you like to listen to in your car? The music you listen to could be influencing your driving style.

We’ve all come across the youth who sits low in the souped up Starlet. Maybe he or she has pulled up beside you at the traffic lights. Or maybe they live next door and you have heard the familiar thump thump coming from the subwoofer in the boot every time they start their car up.

This sort of dance music that features a fast, repetitive beat, and is favoured by many souped up Starlet drivers, feeds right into the dangerous driver stereotype.

But there may be some science to support this assumption. Research has shown that music can affect our driving style. A recent carried out by London Metropolitan University found that not surprisingly, noisy, upbeat music is more likely to encourage dangerous driving.

You see apparently when we are behind the wheel we speed up to match the beat of the song that happens to be playing on the stereo. The study found that if the music increases your heartbeat, then it is likely to cause dangerous driving. They even went as far as to say that Hey Mama by the Black Eyed Peas was the most dangerous song to drive to; I doubt there is a Grammy Award going for that unfortunate accolade!

So what is a ‘safe’ song to drive to? The researchers put together a list of the top 10 safest songs to drive to. They came to the very scientific conclusion that Come Away With Me by Norah Jones is the safest song to drive to. Also in the top 10 were Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake, The Scientist by Coldplay and I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing by Aerosmith.

These songs have a tempo which closely matches the human heartbeat (60 to 80 beats per minute). This is what makes them ‘safe’ to drive to. (I’m not convinced. If it’s late and I’m tired, I want to listen to something more upbeat than Norah Jones to keep me alert while driving!)

Now if you are reading this and your favourite station is Lyric FM, don’t get too smug; you might not be as safe and solid a driver as you may think. The results of the study found that when drivers listened to classical music, they drove the most erratically.

I suppose there is some logic to this. Take Vivaldi’s Four Seasons for example. That’s four very different kinds of music with several tempo changes in one piece. That’s bound to make your driving a little bit erratic!

Do you agree with the results of the study? What kind of music do you like to drive to? Leave a comment and let us know.


7th February, 2013



Author: wheelsforwomen

Ireland's first and only motoring website for women. Car reviews, News & Advice written by women for women. We make it all female friendly

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