Want to be a safer driver? Listen to Coldplay
By Kevin Dolak
Do you want to be a safer driver? Then you might want to turn off the rap and metal music, and switch to the soft rock station.
Researchers at London Metropolitan University have analyzed experiments by U.K. insurance price comparison website Confused.com that they say show the best and worst songs to drive to.
In the experiment, four male and four female motorists drove 250 miles each, while their driving skills were measured. They then drove a further 250 miles listening to different playlists each.
“Music that is noisy, upbeat and increases your heart rate is a deadly mix. Fast beats can cause excitement and arousal that can lead people to concentrate more on the music than on the road,” LMU psychologist Dr. Simon Moore said after reviewing the footage of the drivers. “In addition, a fast tempo can cause people to subconsciously speed up to match the beat of the song.”
The criteria for bad driving songs wasn’t clear. For instance the aptly named “Hit the Road, Jack” by Ray Charles made the group’s list of 10 worst songs for driving.
During the experiment, the MotorMate app from Confused.com was monitoring any changes in their driving, which included speed, acceleration and braking, the company reported.
While listening to hip hop, a female driver was more aggressive behind the wheel, accelerating faster and braking at the last-minute. A heavy metal playlist caused one of the male drivers to speed up.
Moore said that the optimum tempo of a song for safe driving should mimic the human heartbeat – 60 to 80 beats per minute. So for safer driving, listen to acts like Norah Jones, Elton John and Coldplay – but let’s hope you enjoy them.
“Listening to music you don’t like can cause stress and distraction and this also negatively affects driving,” Moore said.
The study concluded that the top 10 safest songs to drive to are:
- “Come Away With Me” – Norah Jones
- “Billionaire” – Travie McCoy feat. Bruno Mars
- “I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz
- “The Scientist” – Coldplay
- “Tiny Dancer” – Elton John
- “Cry Me A River” – Justin Timberlake
- “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” – Aerosmith
- “Karma Police” – Radiohead
- “Never Had A Dream Come
- “Skinny Love” – Bon Iver
And their list of top 10 most dangerous songs:
- “Hey Mama” – The Black Eyed Peas
- “Dead on Arrival” – Fall Out Boy
- “Paper Planes” – M.I.A
- “Walkie Talkie Man” – Stereogram
- “Paradise City” – Guns N’ Roses
- “How You Remind Me” – Nickelback
- “Hit the Road, Jack” – Ray Charles
- “Get Rhythm” – Johnny Cash
- “Heartless” – Kanye West
- “Young, Wild and Free” – Snoop Dogg & Wizz Khalifa (feat. Bruno Mars)
This article first appeares on abc.com on Jan 10, 2013.
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