What Type of Music is Safest for Driving?
London Metropolitan University conducted a study that finds the music you listen to can affect how safely you drive (reported by NPR radio on 1.10.13) and your auto insurance rates. They subjected drivers to different play lists over a 500 mile road test. The safest driving occurred when drivers listened to soft and slow music like Nora Jones or Elton John. Hip Hop, dance music and heavy metal produced more aggressive driving. And listening to classical music produced the most erratic driving. Another study in Jan 2000 found that the decibel volume a song was played at also affected reaction time: The louder the music is played the slower the reaction time to stop. (Everyday conversation is approximately 55 decibels – the danger zone is when you are exposed to extended periods of noise louder than 85 decibels and a rock concert can ring in at 120 decibels.) This study found that loud volume can reduce a drivers reaction time by 3/4 of a second. That does not seem much until you multiply that by a driving speed of 60 miles an hour. Now, for an average driver, that car with the loud music will travel an additional 66 feet before the brakes are applied! So for the safest driving: choose music that is soft and that is played softly!