As a prelude to the celebration of the Distracted Driving Awareness Month coming up in April, we would like to share with you some curious research published in the last issue of the Fleet Transport magazine, revealing the songs drivers love to play in order to raise morale.
According to the research, a survey carried out on a selection of around 2000 drivers found that listening to music while driving appears irresistible to most drivers: 90% of them describe this activity as something that makes them feel happy. Scientists agree that listening to music helps release dopamine. And if the music playing is a favourite track for the listener, or at least an enjoyable one, they can experience a bonus increase of 9% in dopamine released. So exactly how do drivers get the feel-good atmosphere while driving? According to the same research, the adage ‘old is gold’ might well apply. We don’t mean to offend anyone, of course, but it seems classic songs dominate the top 20 list revealed by the research, and only two out of the top ten tracks drivers love to play are from the new millennium.
The top spot goes to—not to mention the Oscar—‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen: the song was also the title of the Academy Award winning Freddy Mercury biopic, and a top choice for drivers. ABBA‘s ‘Dancing Queen’ claimed second place and Bon Jovi ‘s ‘Livin’on a Prayer’ came third.
With around 84% of respondents claiming they listen to music while driving, should that be alarming and is listening to music putting safety at risk?
According to a driver distraction publication issued by the ERSO, operating a music device while driving and listening to music are classified as sources of distraction. According to the same publication, though, while choosing your music via radio dial or selecting tracks from a music player seems to be a proven physical distraction, the actual degree of impairment also depends on the type of music drivers listen to. Loud, high paced or emotional music seem to have a negative impact on drivers, but some other types of music can also be used effectively to calm drivers during challenging driving situations. Evidence suggests that positive music can prevent anger increasing during aggravating driving conditions.
According to Professor Nick Reed, academy director at the UK Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), interviewed on the topic in the past, music can actually help concentration. ‘Music is used by world-class athletes to help with motivation and focus,’ he says. ‘Therefore, in a driving context it’s possible that the right music could help drivers to maintain alertness.’
What is the perfect driving soundtrack then? The advice is classical or sweet music at reasonable volume, and planning your playlists ahead of time. If you want to dance and let go, save those tracks for your parties and not for driving.
Want to learn more? See our blog post to answer the question: Distracted driving or multitasking driving?