A good driving song is more than just a background track to the hum of the road; it’s an often-chosen part of the driving experience that can elevate moods, energise spirits and create unforgettable memories. However, it’s essential to prioritise safety while listening to music on the road.

This article will explore different styles of music, distinguishing between those that may be overly distracting and those that contribute to a relaxed driving environment.

What Makes a Good Driving Song

How Can Music Affect Your Driving?

When it comes to driving, the type of music you listen to can affect your driving style, increasing the risk of accidents. For example:

Volume Up Loud

Loud music can impact your concentration and drown out critical audio cues like car horns and sirens, impairing your ability to process visual and hearing information efficiently. This can result in slower reaction times such as when responding to an emergency vehicle overtaking.

Fast-Paced Music

It’s believed that exposure to high-tempo music can make you more likely to speed, make abrupt and aggressive manoeuvres, and experience increased heart rates. The stimulating nature of fast-paced music, which equates to anything over 120 BPM, can encourage you to dance and sing with your fellow passengers, diverting your attention off the road. According to Money Barn, American Idiot by ‘Green Day’ is the most dangerous song to play in the car.

Lyrical Songs

Processing the words and meaning of a song requires a certain level of mental effort. This can decrease your ability to respond to sudden changes in traffic conditions, such as breaking at a pedestrian crossing. Yet, familiar songs with lyrics can have a positive effect. It can reduce stress levels when driving on unfamiliar roads, improving your driving performance. This allows you to drive more comfortably.

Recommendations for Safe Driving Music Choices

By selecting music that enhances concentration and reduces stress without overwhelming the senses, you can create a more controlled and pleasant driving environment for you, your passengers and other road users. For instance:

Choose Songs with a Moderate Tempo

Music with a moderate tempo tends to promote a relaxing and stress-free environment. This can help prevent you from becoming overly stimulated or agitated while driving, especially if you’re an anxious driver. In addition, this style of music is less likely to distract and won’t subconsciously encourage you to speed or abruptly change lanes.

Avoid Overly Complex or Emotional Songs

Complex music compositions or songs with solid emotional messages can demand more cognitive resources to process. They can increase stress, aggression and sadness, ultimately sending you into auto-pilot. Therefore, to keep your emotional state neutral, avoid these musical choices to enhance your concentration.

Classical, Instrumental Music as an Alternative

If you’re driving in a new location, stuck in traffic, expecting a late arrival or have a lot on your mind, listening to classical or instrumental music can induce a calm and focused state of mind. Known for their soothing qualities, they can help you stay focused while keeping a calm demeanour, supporting your overall mental well-being.

Why It’s Better to Have Music-Free Driving Lessons

A music-free driving lesson is recommended as it allows you to give the driving instructions your full attention. The absence of music will help you hear your instructor’s direct instructions, whether giving directions or asking you to demonstrate a safe manoeuvre like a three-point turn or parallel park. It also helps you to hear the environment around you and your vehicle, such as the growling of the gear stick when the clutch isn’t fully engaged. Tuning into these sounds is crucial for mastering control over your car.