Songs with a tempo of between 60 and 80 beats per minute are optimal for driving which means ACDC and Guns ‘n Roses are out…
There’s nothing better than cruising along your favourite driving route, listening to your favourite tunes. Music also helps combat the mundane experience of sitting in bumper to bumper traffic! But did you know according to studies, your choice of music could have an affect on your driving abilities?
Songs with a tempo of between 60 and 80 beats per minute are optimal for driving which means ACDC and Guns ‘n Roses are out, and Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran are recommended.
“Aside from the distraction caused by scrolling through playlists, the music you listen to can have a profound effect on your mood, which can affect your driving. The harder and louder, the more likely you might be to speed, be aggressive or become distracted,” says Maanda Tshifularo, Head of Dialdirect.
According to a study conducted at the Ear Institute of University College London, one’s eyes and ears need to be focused on the same thing for optimal processing and reaction time. Splitting your attention between listening to the radio and paying attention to the traffic around you, increases your risk of being in an accident.
Research titled “Effects of noise and music on human and task performance: A systematic review” from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, found that music can reduce stress and mild aggression in frustrating situations like bumper-to-bumper traffic, but may reduce your ability to manoeuvre to avoid other vehicles. It concluded that a moderate volume level of music is optimal for driving, whilst loud music or noise impairs human performance.
A research team led by Dr. Simon Moore, a psychologist from London Metropolitan University, found that music that is upbeat and noisy increases your heart rate – causing excitement and leading motorists to focus more on the music than on the road. Dr. Moore suggests that songs with a tempo of between 60 and 80 beats per minute are optimal for driving, as this tempo closely mimics people’s average resting heart rate.
“As a guideline, AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ hits 133 bpm, Taylor Swift’s ‘Style’ hits the 96 bpm mark, Beyoncé’s ‘Halo’ comes in at 80 bpm, while Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’ clocks up 64 bpm,” says Tshifularo.
The study also found that listening to music that you don’t like could cause stress and distraction.
Dialdirect offers the following tips for driving right, whilst enjoying good music:
Tshifularo concludes, “Music can help you stay focused on long road trips and keep you from raging about the stagnant traffic in front of you. However, if you find your pulse starting to race, your foot getting heavier on the accelerator or your brain more focused on a stellar karaoke-solo, it’s best to take a step back. Despite your best efforts, it could still happen that ‘Greased lightning’ turns into ‘Crash and burn’ in a matter of seconds, so it’s wise to make sure that your car, and music accessories, are adequately insured.”