What music is most suitable for driving?

Did you know that there are types of music that are not recommended for driving? Music influences our mood and we must not forget that driving is a task that requires our full attention.

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For many people the car, the moto, the bicycle becomes their favorite place to listen to music. On the way to work, during a trip, in a traffic jam… Music is very much linked to driving; an example of this can be found in the music systems that include the cars, some of them of very high quality. Even the old ones had their place reserved for the mythical radio cassette.

In today’s society, where technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, the options for listening to music while driving are multiplying. In addition to radio programs and CD’s of soundtracks or our favorite artists, we have a number of devices that allow us to customize the music we want to hear: Through USB with our own collection, by Bluetooth connection between the car and our cell phone, with systems that integrate the cell phone in the car to access their content, such as Apple Car Play, Android Auto or Mirror Link, different channels for listening to music streaming, applications like Spotify… The options for listening to music to driving are very varied.

Driving Music Influences Heart Rate

But did you know that there are types of music that are not recommended for driving? Music influences our mood and we must not forget that driving is a task that requires our full attention. There are several studies that talk about the best and worst music for driving.

One of them, conducted by St. John’s University in Newfoundland, Canada, revealed that it is the rhythm of music that really affects the heart rate and brain activity. To reach this conclusion he subjected a group of men and women to different concentration tests using various types of music and values between 53 and 95 decibels. Conclusion: people who listened to music with faster rhythms and with the highest sound had a 20% higher risk of suffering a traffic accident because their reaction time increased by the same percentage.

If the song has a fast rhythm, the driver tends to step on the gas more. Also, if we turn up the volume, the attention span is reduced. Another study from the German University of Dortmund concluded that drivers who listen to pop-rock music tend to drive faster and more aggressively than those who choose classical music. What else do the studies say?

What are the worst styles of music to drive?

The UK company Populus also claims that those who listen to rock music at the wheel are more likely to be involved in an accident. Thus, 76% of respondents said they had shouted or insulted other drivers and 31% said they had been involved in a minor accident compared to 13% of young people listening to pop music.

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This same study also does not recommend listening to jazz music because it increases the possibility of committing infractions and therefore receiving traffic fines, especially for speeding. This is because the complexity of jazz forces the driver to be more attentive to the music and be more often distracted.

We recommend you this post from this french motorcycle blog, they share a perfect playlist to drive on your two wheels, however you can listen to car and bike, etc. Check out here!

The type of songs to travel by type of road and traffic state

Nor is the level of attention to driving always the same. So when we travel on a highway or freeway, it is recommended to listen to more stimulating music or an interesting radio program that avoids drowsiness and monotony. During a traffic jam it is preferable to listen to more relaxing music, chats, language courses that avoid aggressive or nervous reactions. On the other hand, when we arrive at an urban area after a long trip, or we circulate in the center of big cities, it is advisable to avoid the sound in order to pay attention to all the stimuli that we are going to find: traffic signs, bicycles, motos, pedestrians…

One thing is clear: music can alter our perception of time and create an alternative temporal reality. It can even make you disconnect and isolate yourself inside the vehicle and, therefore, make you lose your sense of responsibility for your safety and that of the rest of the users.

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But it is also well known that music is a good companion for the driver, especially when he travels alone. This is one of the reasons why Ford has commissioned composer Joe Goddard, from the group Hot Chip, to create the best song to go to work in a car. The result is ‘Momentum’ -available on Spotify-. The great soundtracks that Goddard has heard at the wheel where his source of inspiration. “I’ve created a piece of disco music that has a quietly optimistic tone rather than an overtly euphoric one. I wanted the song to be free and human,” he explains.

Joe Goddard has also followed the recommendations by Amy Belfi, a cognitive neuroscientist at New York University and an expert in the science of sound and emotion in motion. She says that choosing the right music on morning rides can improve a driver’s mood up to two hours later.

Remember that: 

  • Driving with headphones is prohibited.
  • Choose and prepare the right music to listen to in the car before starting the trip. Distractions at the wheel are the main cause of traffic accidents.
  • Avoid turning the volume of your stereo too high to avoid distractions and because they will reduce your hearing ability about what’s going on outside.
  • At the wheel, always attentive to the road. If the music takes away your concentration, better turn it off.


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