Most motorists like to listen to music while they drive. However, a study conducted by the website Confused.com suggests that certain songs are more dangerous than others for drivers. Somewhat surprisingly, the study found that the Black Eyed Peas' 2004 dance hit "Hey Mama" was the most dangerous song for drivers, while Norah Jones' "Come Away with Me" was considered among the safest.
The study was conducted with eight participants, four female and four male, who were asked to drive 500 miles each. For the first 250 miles, the drivers listened to no music at all. After 250 miles, the drivers were allowed to listen to a designated playlist: dance, hip-hop, heavy metal and classical. During their trips, the drivers were tracked with a smart phone app that tracked their speed, braking and acceleration time.
The study found that the music significantly impacted how motorists drove. One female participant who listened to hip-hop drove the most aggressively of all the drivers, accelerating and braking more quickly than the other drivers. Heavy metal music caused one male driver to drive more quickly than the other participants; the other heavy metal driver reported driving more quickly because she "didn't want to listen to it anymore". Interestingly, while one might think that classical music would have a soothing effect, it caused the drivers with the playlists to drive more erratically. The female driver stated that the mix of different tempos gave her a headache and was distracting.
London University psychologist Dr. Simon Moore said that the ideal music for driving has a tempo that matches that of the human heartbeat, somewhere between 60 to 80 beats per minute. "Fast beats can cause excitement and arousal that can lead people to concentrate more on the music than on the road," Moore said to Confused.com. "In addition, a fast tempo can cause people to subconsciously speed up to match the beat of the song. Also, listening to music you don't like can cause stress and distraction and this also negatively affects driving."
Wisecrackers may note that the Black Eyed Peas were not the only artists that made the list; more critically beloved artists like Ray Charles and Johnny Cash also made the most dangerous list. Confused.com has also created a playlist of the safest songs, which include acts as diverse as Bruno Mars and Elton John.
Prefix magazine notes, "Take note: these artists will help you not kill people or yourself, so as long as you don't perish from sheer boredom."