Does Listening to Music Contribute to Car Accidents?

by Staff | August 12th, 2019

There are an average of six million car accidents in the U.S. every year, and distraction was reported as a factor in nearly 1 in 5 crashes in which someone was injured. But distracted driving includes more than just using your cell phone. Could turning on the radio or plugging in a playlist also cause car accidents? Research into the topic shows some interesting results.

The Case for Music while Driving

You may know that listening to music can improve your mood and lower your stress levels, and research backs this up. When traffic is bad enough to induce road rage in some people, turning on music may help prevent accidents caused by angry and upset drivers making mistakes they otherwise wouldn’t.

Listening to music can also be a huge benefit on long road trips. It increases your heartrate, which keeps you alert and awake. It may also improve concentration; studies show that drivers who listen to music are better at driving within the lines and matching the speed of the vehicles in front of them than those who drive without music.

The Case Against Music while Driving

Listening to music you love can serve as a distraction if you love it too much. The brain may switch tasks from focusing on driving with the music serving as background noise to active listening with driving becoming the secondary task. This is especially true for younger and less experienced drivers, and it may result in errors like speeding, forgetting to signal, or failing to check blind spots before turning or changing lanes.

Some research suggests the brain may also have difficulty looking away from the source of a noise. You may have experienced this if you’ve ever turned your head in response to a door opening, for example. In this case, you may be tempted to look at the radio display rather than the road.

What to Listen to on Your Next Commute

We’ve learned that music increases your heart rate, which is a great way to stay awake, but drivers may be tempted to match their speed to the tempo of the songs they’re listening to. So, music playing at 120 beats per minute (BPM) or more can cause drivers to subconsciously speed. Researchers suggest listening to music between 60-80 BPM while in the car, because it closely matches a resting heart rate.

To give you a better idea of what and what not to listen to on your next drive, we’ve pulled 10 songs from the Billboard Hot 100 and separated them out according to whether they are safe to listen to while driving or not. Want an all-safe playlist? Download our own.

Today’s Hits – Top 5 Most Dangerous Songs to Drive To

  1. bad guy by Billie Eilish – 135 BPM
  2. Talk by Khalid – 136 BPM
  3. Sucker by Jonas Brothers – 138 BPM
  4. If I Can’t Have You by Shawn Mendes – 124 BPM
  5. Sweet But Psycho by Ava Max – 133 BPM

Today’s Hits – Top 5 Safest Songs to Drive To

  1. Old Town Road by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – 67 BPM
  2. Suge by DaBaby – 75 BPM
  3. Beer Never Broke My Heart by Luke Combs – 77 BPM
  4. Earfquake by Tyler, The Creator – 80 BPM
  5. 7 Rings by Ariana Grande – 70 BPM

When You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident, Call Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin

Car accidents can be devastating, especially when they result in serious injury. If you’ve been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, we want to fight for your right to compensation. Contact the car accident attorneys at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin today for a free case review.

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