It’s no secret that music can affect our moods. Listen to gangsta rap and you’ll want to shoot people in the face; throw on some Barry White and you’ll get a sudden urge to make babies; and a mere second of listening to S Club 7 will make you want to gouge your own eyes out. But have you ever considered what the most dangerous songs are to listen to when driving? Well, wonder no more, insurance comparison website Confused.com has found the 10 worst offenders.
The company asked eight willing participants to drive 250 miles without music and 250 miles with, while Confused.com’s MotorMate mobile phone app monitored their speed, acceleration and braking. From this, the songs that encouraged the most dangerous driving behaviours were deduced.
Hey Mama by the Black Eyed Peas turned out to be the most dangerous song, with Dead on Arrival by Fall Out Boy in second place and Paper Planes by M.I.A. taking the bronze medal. Ray Charles’ Hit the Road, Jack aptly made an appearance in seventh place, while Young, Wild and Free by Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa (featuring Bruno Mars) rounded off the top ten.
The research found a female driver listening to hip-hop drove the most aggressively, with faster acceleration and last-minute braking happening more often. Heavy metal caused males to drive faster than other participants. Interestingly, the results reveal listening to even classical music caused drivers to be more erratic than when not listening to music at all.
“Music that is noisy, upbeat and increases your heart rate is a deadly mix,” London University psychologist Dr. Simon Moore explained. “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,” he added.
Based on the findings, Dr Moore said the best music to drive to mimics the tempo of your heartbeat, which works out at somewhere between sixty and eighty beats per minute, The Scientist by Coldplay being one example.
While there’s no disputing different types of music can affect your driving style, a sample of just eight people seems very low to be a true representation. In addition, the survey does not take personal taste into the mix, nor the fact that 500 miles is a long way to drive, which means fatigue and boredom may skew the results somewhat.
The full top ten is as follows:
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 (feat. Bruno Mars)
In case you want some safe beats to drive home to, Confused.com has prepared a 50-track “Ultimate Driving Playlist” you can Spotify here.