What motorists are listening to in their cars

Music apps, radio, audio books – what are you listening to in your car?

For many of us, music is an important part of our lives and without it, perhaps life would be a lot less colourful. Whether you listen to music to relax, to express yourself, or to distract yourself from the mundane experience of sitting in traffic alone, music there are loads of benefits associated with music.

“Spending so much time inside our four wheels forces us to listen to any kind of audio we can get our hands on, be it our favourite playlists, radio programmes or audiobooks. Many of us play music to sweeten the time spent in the car, especially when going on longer road trips,” says Giles Kirkland, automotive writer for Oponeo.co.uk .

Kirkland recently asked UK drivers and passengers a series of questions about listening to music in cars and got a lot of interesting information…

Listening to music

Let’s start with why we actually listen to music while driving. Well, it turns out that over half the population does it purely out of love for music (58.8%). Other common reasons include: “it makes the journey feel shorter” or “I like to sing in the car.” Almost ⅓ of the respondents usually travel alone and listen to music because they have no one to talk to in the car, and almost ¼ claim that music helps them stay focused behind the wheel.

The radio is still alive

If you think that the radio is a thing of the past, you might be racing towards the future a little too fast… More than half of Brits chose the radio as their number one source of music in the car and South Easterners listen to the radio the most!

Why the radio? Well, it seems that we like to be lazy. Over 35% of respondents never change the station despite ads being played. Only 44% of radio listeners admit to jumping across various stations in search for the best music.

Best driving songs

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and find out what drivers love and what they hate listening to in the car.

There are millions of songs in the world and everyone has a different favourite, so we simplified the task and compiled a list of some newer hits, old classics and a few most mocked, annoying singles and made our audience choose one favourite. Here are the top 3 winners:

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen
Shape of You by Ed Sheeran
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers

Other honourable mentions include WonderwallHighway to HellSweet Home Alabama and, of course, Mamma Mia.

As much as these hits are loved, over 60% of all respondents claimed to be unable to listen to one song on repeat while travelling. People who drive less than a few hours a week were nearly the only ones to claim they could listen to just one song. Among those who barely leave their vehicles because their jobs involve driving, over 80% could never listen to the same song all the way.

Also read: How certain music affects your driving ability 

The 3 winners aka losers for the most hated category were *drumroll please*:
Baby by Justin Bieber
Gangnam Style by PSY
…Baby One More Time by Britney Spears

A few honourable mentions are also: What Does the Fox Say?Despacito and The Ketchup Song (Asereje).

Drive me till the end of the song

Almost 75% of our respondents admitted to staying inside the car just to finish a song they like! We’ve also heard of cases where Uber passengers asked their drivers to go round the block again just to let the music play till the end. No wonder that Uber has already launched a music app – it looks like adding music to your business can bring about real benefits!

But what if the worst case scenario happens? We asked respondents to imagine what they’d do if an Uber driver played their absolute most hated songs. More than ¾ claimed being too polite to say anything. They’d rather suffer in silence crying quietly into the leather seats of an Uber Black. These might be the “quiet people” as Uber drivers like to call them. On the other hand, only a few brave souls (3.2%) would prefer to jump out of the car, rather than listen to something they despise.

Interestingly, almost 54% of these crying passengers are of the opinion that both the driver and passengers should compromise on the music choice (ideally, fifty-fifty) and almost 11% even think it should be the passengers, yet they choose to suffer in silence! This led us to a conclusion that British politeness is still here and doing well!

Singing in the car rocks

A huge majority (83.7%) of drivers like to sing along while listening to music. 38% admitted to always singing, 30.8% only do it when their favourite songs are on and the remaining 14.9% are respectful towards their passengers and answered they sing only when they’re alone in the car.

It’s official now: singing in the car rocks! It turned out to be 4 times more popular than singing in the shower although the choice was tough. Would you rather risk being heard by your neighbours or seen by fellow drivers and pedestrians?

When it comes to kids, we like to think we give them the best. But how much is too much of a sacrifice?

It turns out that only 24.3% of parents listen to kid’s music in the car when they’re driving with their offsprings. Have their kids played “Let it Go” so many times at home that they’re just too sick of it to play it a hundredth time in the car? Regarding games, the numbers are not that much higher, as only 35% play games such as “I Spy” with their children.

Audio car gadgets

Modern cars can now be as well equipped as a small flat. On-board WiFi, TV screens, surround sound systems and more can be found in vehicles of all sizes. For those who can’t afford the most modern built-in tech, there’s multiple other options to modify a ride with.

Handy multi-device chargers may just be perfect during long family trips when the kids’ tablets both run down at the exact same time. Car subwoofers will deliver the deepest sounds to the most demanding drum&bass fans. Even coffee freaks can satisfy their addiction by plugging a coffee maker into the cigarette lighter port.

While some are full of admiration for how the latest technologies can improve the comfort of driving, others can’t believe in the craze surrounding the often useless thingamajigs. We were curious to know how close the UK’s population follows these gadget trends. Here’s what we’ve found:


To our surprise, the most common car accessory is still an in-built sat-nav. Whether it’s a question of not relying on one’s self sense of direction (and any internet apps, as a matter of fact) or simply being used to the “good old systems,” our surveyees are still fond of this traditional accessory.

It seems we care more about where we are than what happens around us on the road. We found it quite surprising that not even 20% of the respondents own a dash cam! While a car door projector obviously isn’t crucial to driving, dash cams are one of the modern day’s greatest car accessories. They serve as undeniable proof in case of any incident on the road.

Road safety and music: friends or foes?

Here’s some good news for music lovers who are safe driving enthusiasts: listening to music doesn’t distract drivers! On the contrary, it can help you focus on the road and keep your perceptions on a right level. Nearly 80% of drivers claimed they’d never got lost or missed a turn or green light while listening to music.

After all, monotonous landscapes and long driving times combined with stress or sleep deprivation (let’s be honest, we all struggle at least with one of those) can definitely contribute to dangerous or careless driving. So pumping up the energy with some happy beats will significantly increase the chance of you staying awake and in a good mood.

Keep enjoying the music and ride on. Just one little reminder: make sure you control your urge to dance and don’t try the ‘In My Feelings/KIKI’ challenge at home!