Driving under the influence doesn’t always mean alcohol. Sometimes, it can also mean music.
According to a study by Confused.com and research by music psychology professor Dr. Warren Brodsky, music can affect driving habits while on the road. These changes can include an increase in driving speed, more aggression and less focus on the road. Other music genres, however, can have the opposite affect, leading to following the speed limit and being calmer and fully focused on the driving conditions.
Here are three more or less safe music genres to listen to while driving.
More Safe: Acoustic
The 2013 study showed that the safest song out of their selections was the 2002 Norah Jones song “Come Away With Me.” Whether they were male or female, both drivers reported driving at the safest speed with the most alertness.
Other artists that made the “safe” list included Jason Mraz, Bon Iver, and Elton John. Now there’s a tiny dancer that isn’t bad having in the car!
Less Safe: Hip-Hop
Easily, one of the most volatile genres to play in your car is hip-hop or rap. The recorded song that posed the most danger to drivers was The Black Eyed Peas’ “Hey Mama,” and that wasn’t the only song to make the list. Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, and M.I.A. all pose a danger to drivers if they’re more focused on the music instead of the road. Don’t forget to put N.W.A. on pause if the police pull you over.
More Safe: Alternative Rock
We know rock doesn’t sound like the type of music that should be calming, but allow us to clarify: this is alternative rock, the classic, fluorescent sound of Aerosmith, Radiohead, and Coldplay. With singles including “The Scientist” and “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” these are fun, upbeat songs that don’t rock your car out too much.
Less Safe: Hard Rock
On the other end of the spectrum, hard rock is loud and could impact your driving ability. The second most dangerous song in the study was Fallout Boy’s “Dead on Arrival,” and they aren’t the only rock band to make the cut. Stereogram, Guns N’ Roses and Nickelback are all on the list, among others. If you’re thinking of rocking out in your car, you may want to think twice about that.
More Safe: Soft Pop
Again, you wouldn’t think pop music would be the most calming, but a little soft pop doesn’t hurt! Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River” made the list, as well as Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire.” Bruno Mars doesn’t hurt much either.
Less Safe: R&B
A partner to the hip-hop genre, R&B’s pulsating beats and rhythms can throw drivers off while they’re on the road. Kanye West’s “Heartless,” for instance, was one of the most dangerous songs published on the study, but not as dangerous as Ray Charles’ 1961 single “Hit The Road Jack.” Yes Jack. Hit the road, but hit it safely.
Whatever your choice of music, follow some fundamental best practices for safe driving, such as not operating the controls while you’re in motion. Check out our post “3 of the Biggest Driving Distractions That Don’t Seem Distracting at All” for more tips on avoiding dangerous driving.