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Adam Jolley

The 10 most dangerous driving songs

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Experiments have revealed that some songs that can cause motorists to drive more dangerously. But what makes a song a driving hazard?

 adjusting volume in car

Most of us like to listen to music while we’re driving.

However, there are some songs you would do well to avoid when behind the wheel, according to the results of a new motoring experiment by Confused.com.

Big for your boots by Stormzy released in 2017 topped the charts of songs not to drive to. 

And it seems rock music is the most dangerous music genre to listen to if you want to stay safe on the road, judging from the make up of the top 10 dangerous driving songs.

Top 10 dangerous driving songs

1. Big for your Boots - Stormzy
2. Castle on the Hill - Ed Sheeran
3. Pretty Girl - Remix - Maggie Lindemann 
4. Congratulations - Post Malone 
5. Solo Dance - Martin Jensen  
6. Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran
7. There's Nothing Holding Me Back - Shawn Mendes 
8. Call on Me - Starley 
9. Slide - Calvin Harris 
10. Mama - Jonas Blue 

Listen to these on our interactive animation - Most Dangerous Driving Songs.

Motoring experiment

Eight participants, four women and four men, were asked to drive 500 miles each – the first 250 miles without listening to music and the second with music.

During their journeys, Confused.com’s mobile phone app MotorMate monitored their driving styles, recording things such as speed, acceleration and braking to see whether the addition of music affected their driving.

The experiment showed that different types of music affected the participants’ driving styles.

How music affects driving

A female participant who listened to a hip-hop playlist on her car stereo drove far more aggressively than any other driver, the research showed.

This included faster acceleration and last-minute braking.

Meanwhile, a heavy metal playlist caused one of the male drivers to drive at much faster speeds than the other participants. 

And while some may think that classical music would be calming, the experiment showed that this isn’t always the case.

Both a male and female driver who listened to classical music drove more erratically than when they weren’t listening to any music at all.

A ‘deadly mix’

Footage of the motorists’ driving was reviewed by London University psychologist Dr. Simon Moore.

He identified trends in the types of music that result in more dangerous driving.

Dr. Moore said: "Music that is noisy, upbeat and increases your heart rate is a deadly mix.

"Fast beats can cause excitement and arousal that can lead people to concentrate more on the music than on the road.

"In addition, a fast tempo can cause people to subconsciously speed up to match the beat of the song.

"Also, listening to music you don’t like can cause stress and distraction and this also negatively affects driving."

Safe driving songs playlist

According to Dr. Moore, the optimum tempo of a song for safe driving should mimic the human heartbeat.

This is around 60 to 80 beats per minute. So songs such as Come Away With Me by American singer-songwriter Norah Jones, The Scientist by British band Coldplay and Tiny Dancer by Elton John would make ideal driving songs.

To encourage better driving, Confused.com has created a playlist of the top 50 ultimate safe driving songs, which match this optimum tempo.

Download our Ultimate Driving Playlist.

First published on the 8th of January 2013

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