Study finds rock music may make you a risky driver

26 Sep 2019

Almost everyone likes to liven up a long car journey with a little music on the stereo - but could the tunes you listen to be making you into a riskier driver?

A new study by South China University of Technology suggested people may be more likely to make erratic manoeuvres if they are listening to higher tempo tunes, particularly rock music.

The scientists put test participants in a driving simulator and asked them to 'drive' for 20 minutes down a six-lane motorway while listening to either rock, easy listening music or silence.

It was found that while the average number of lane changes was 70, this figure shot up to 140 while the motorists were played rock music.

Furthermore, the average speed increased by up to five miles per hour when high-tempo tunes came on.

The danger level for beats per minute was found to be around 120 BPM, with songs above this tending to have a negative impact on driving style.

It was even possible to compile a list of the 'most dangerous' songs, with Green Day's American Idiot topping it at 189 BPM. Perhaps surprisingly, Miley Cyrus's Party in the USA was next, followed by Mr Brightside (The Killers), Don't Let Me Down (The Chainsmokers) and Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen).

If you don't want to be a danger behind the wheel, the top three on the 'least dangerous' list were Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven, Under the Bridge by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and God's Plan by Drake.

Lead researcher at the South China University of Technology Qiang Zeng said the discovery could lead to "training and management measures, especially for transport operators, and could mitigate the risk of driver distraction".

Last month, a poll by Goodyear voted Queen's Don't Stop Me Now as the UK's favourite driving song of all time. Four-fifths of motorists said a line-up of decent tunes is a necessity for them when they get behind the wheel - but they didn't say whether that includes any Green Day.