Walking by any cardio class at the gym – or watching Iron Eagle – should be enough clue that music affects the tempo at which we do things. A study, admittedly a tiny one, by UK car and financial site Confused.com puts it in perspective behind the wheel. Using its MotorMate app to monitor driving behavior during a 500-mile road trip, it had the eight participants drive the first half without music, while the second half was accompanied by different genres of tunes from classical to heavy metal.

The results? Heavy metal caused a male driver to go "much faster," hip-hop made one of the female drivers crank up the aggression, and a classical playlist caused two other drivers to be more erratic than when there was no music. A psychologist at London University backed up the findings, accidentally sounding like one of those campy PSAs from the 1950s at the same time when he commented, "Music that is noisy, upbeat and increases your heart rate is a deadly mix," and, "Fast beats can cause excitement and arousal that can lead people to concentrate more on the music than on the road."

With the revelation that up-tempo tunes can lead to drivers matching the 'beat' with their driving, the "ideal" driving rhythm was said to be that which matches the human heart rate, about 60 to 80 beats per minute. On the top ten list of most dangerous songs to drive to was "Hey Mama" by The Black Eyed Peas at number one, followed by Fall Out Boy's "Dead on Arrival" and M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes." Ray Charles even made the list at number seven with "Hit the Road, Jack," as did Nickleback with "How You Remind Me," only slightly worse at number six.

A list of the ten best songs to safely drive to is a playlist straight from any easy listening radio station or Starbucks. Norah Jones took the lead with "Come Away with Me," groups like Coldplay, Elton John, Radiohead and Jason Mraz keeping her company. Interestingly, songs featuring Bruno Mars made both lists: you should stay away from "Young, Wild and Free" by Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa, feat. Bruno Mars, but Travie McCoy's "Billionaire Feat. Bruno Mars" is safe.


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  • 54 Comments
      Bryant Keith
      • 1 Year Ago
      If I was listening to the Black Eyed Peas i'd want to kill myself...thats for sure.
      Mike McDonald
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think current pop music increases driving aggression because the sheeple who are actually listening to it are unconsciously trying to commit suicide to free themselves from the ear pain they are forced to suffer to sustain their popularity.
      FatManChew909
      • 1 Year Ago
      This probably explains why every time I have to take a dump I listen to rap music.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      Government knee jerk reaction #567,987,453 - All audio reproduction equipment must be banned from automobiles immediately.
      Shiftright
      • 1 Year Ago
      Listening to Nickelback under any circumstances should be outlawed, period.
      kuntknife
      • 1 Year Ago
      We need to look at what's the cause and what's the effect. Listening to Kanye won't make you a bad driver, but bad drivers listen to Kanye. Subtle, but key difference.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      wow, someone had to do a study on this? and Rap music makes you a violent killer. Actually it makes me giggle every time!
      Cheddar
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Study"? Why would anyone with a college education post this as if it was a "study" rather than the cry for PR that it is? 1. A sample of 8 is a "qualitative" study at best, which would be used to understand WHY someone did what they did, not WHAT or IF a stimulus resulted in a behavior change. 2. To be valid, there would need to be a control group. 3. To be valid, the portion of road travelled would need to be identical, travelled at the exact same time of dday and under similar traffic and weather conditions. 4. The sample would have to be demographically and culturally aligned between music and non-music drivers. 5. Conclusions based on a sample of 8 without a control or proper protocols is as newsworthy as a fart.
        FreeThinker
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cheddar
        Agreed!
        Classic_Engr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cheddar
        100% on the money.
        Dark Gnat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Cheddar
        This has bad science written all over it. It is sloppy and does not even begin to cover a wide enough range of data to make any sort of statement at all. No doubt, certain lawmakers would use it as an excuse to create useless bans and criminalize the very people they represent.
      Andy Dufresne
      • 1 Year Ago
      The picture above does not depict anyone capable of producing "music".
      Nick B
      • 1 Year Ago
      So this proves what ive been saying all along. Metal is for men and hip hop is for girls.
      ntcougar7
      • 1 Year Ago
      I listen to Parkway drive... dont get fooled by the name you will drive more aggressive :)
      Bernard
      • 1 Year Ago
      Often times the music is the only think in my car keeping me from committing horrible acts of vehicular homicide. Every think that the people listening to some of these songs are doing it because they are already tense? What's next? A study that shows people who are taking Tylenol are more likely to have headaches?
        Bernard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bernard
        Also, cranking the volume helps keep me awake on long solitary drives.
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