Scientific research has suggested that there is music you should avoid while driving.
Hasn’t it happened to you that, while on a road trip, you put your playlist on, and suddenly a very exciting song (let’s say “Chop Suey” by System of a Down) comes up, and you can’t help but jump and maybe even headbang a little? It’s so fun to let yourself go with music while going somewhere. I would even dare to say that this is the ideal combo for music lovers that also enjoy traveling. Well, as fun as it may be, this can actually very dangerous if you play very particular tracks. You don’t trust me? Let science do the talking.
After Spotify released its famous playlists that sum up an entire year of music, English psychologist and professor Dr. Simon Moore, who has studied the impact of music on driving with the 40 most popular tracks on Spotify during 2017. So, he accessed the data analysis of each one of these songs, taking in consideration two elements: tempo (the speed of the song measured in Beats Per Minute) and energy (intensity and how noisy the song can be from 1 to 10). After deep research, he discovered that there were many tracks that included a specific beat that could induce people to drive faster, hence increasing the possibilities of a car accident.
"Fast music can cause excitement and arousal that can lead people to concentrate more on the music than the road. In addition, a fast tempo can cause people to subconsciously speed up to match the beat of the song."
So if we follow Dr. Moore findings, songs above 100 BPM can be too shaky for an ideal drive, so we'd better avoid them while driving. However, he considered that tracks between 60 and 100 BPM are the safest songs to include in a road trip playlist (keeping in mind the genre and energy of the song itself). This doesn’t mean that listening to these songs will automatically lead to a car accident, but in the right conditions and state of mind, they can nurture our excitement and lack of judgment, and our driving skills can be compromised. If you want to avoid risky songs and drive safe, here are some of the tracks that Dr. Moore classified as “dangerous”:
“Move Bitch” by Disturbing tha Peace (178 BPM)
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has sung this track during a traffic jam. I mean, people are so frustrating behind the wheel, it’s almost impossible not to turn into a Hulk and think about smashing their cars into pieces. I think it’s no surprise that this song made it into the list. If you haven’t heard it before, then be careful not to listen to it for the first time while driving (and much less if you’re in a traffic jam), because you might end up yelling the lyrics at other drivers.
“Congratulations” by Post Malone (123 BPM)
“Solo Dance” by Martin Jensen (115 BPM)
“Slide” by Calvin Harris (104 BPM)
“Ridin” by Chamillionaire (143 BPM)
This song talks about sending the police back to hell, getting high on some good weed, holding a gun in case of emergency, and playing video games before the next time to ride and roll comes. Listening to a heavy 135 BPM rap can be dangerous if you’re feeling little dangerous yourself, so better remove it from your playlist ASAP.
“Big For Your Boots” by Stormzy (175 BPM… woah)
"Castle on the Hill" by Ed Sheeran (135 BPM)
“Sweetness” by Jimmy Eat World (135 BPM)
“The Pretender” by Foo Fighters (173 BPM)
This is one of my favorite songs from Foo Fighters (because there is so much more than “The Best of You”). Nevertheless, I must confess that the song itself manages to put me in a very upbeat and crazy mood. The lyrics, Grohl’s voice, the drums, the beat, it’s all the perfect combination to go completely berzerk. I love that, but probably it won’t be the best idea to put it on when leaving home. I sure don’t want to be The Pretender after a car accident.
“I can’t drive 55” by Sammy Hagar (135 BPM)
“Top Back” by T.I. (160 BPM)
“Notget” by Björk (179 BPM)
This song may come as a surprise to many, because Björk is supposed to be calming, relaxing, and not nerve-altering. But the song’s background may help you understand why it can be dangerous. Björk wrote this song after divorcing Matthew Barney. For her, the track represented her liberation from the sadness and sorrow, that moment when you’re feel the anxiety over you, but you manage to leave it behind. It is a stressful song, so beware.
“Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin (113 BPM)
“Chop Suey” by System Of a Down (127 BPM)
Yes, it had to be here too.
“Sandstorm” by Darude (136 BPM)
“Prophets of Rage” by Prophets of Rage (200 BPM)
I mean, the name of this super band is reason enough to understand why it can be dangerous to listen to any of their songs while being behind the wheel. They’re all about protest, about letting the rage come out in the shape of rap rock. They're amazing at doing it, but the mood of their songs doesn't really go well with cars, or any kind of transportation for that matter.
“Banana Brain” by Die Antwoord (150 BPM)
‘Till I Collapse” by Eminem (171 BPM)
“The Rock Show” by Blink 182 (193 BPM)
“The Beast and The Harlot” by Avenged Sevenfold (155 BPM)
Although Dr. Moore has stated that these songs will tend to make you drive faster and because of this they can be dangerous for you, you also have to keep in mind your mood at that moment. If you’re feeling relaxed, maybe this music won’t represent any kind of threat, but if you feel agitated, angry, or sad, maybe it's better to avoid them, at least for this time.
You might also enjoy reading about 5 Women You Didn't Know Pioneered Electronic Music and The Dark Side Of Purity In Japan's Most Successful Music Genre