The world’s safest song to listen to while driving released for Road Safety Week
- Scientists and musicians have created the first ever music track that’s scientifically designed to encourage safe driving habits.
- The track, entitled Safe In Sound, has been commissioned by MORE TH>N SM>RT WHEELS and released for Road Safety Week 2015 (23–29 November) to encourage safer driving among young drivers in particular.
- The original composition is based on scientific research into the types of music that are proven to encourage safe driving habits.
- Download the song for free from Soundcloud.
Seventies electric pop singer Gary Numan might feel safest in his car, but to guarantee safety behind the wheel he’d do well avoiding his own music and tuning into a new song released today that’s scientifically designed to be the safest song to listen to while driving.
The track, called Safe In Sound, is the first ever music track created specifically to encourage safe driving, including smooth braking, accelerating and awareness of speed limits. It has been commissioned by MORE TH>N SM>RT WHEELS to coincide with Road Safety Week and encourage safer driving among higher risk 17– 25 year old motorists. It follows new research revealing that one in 10 (11%) young drivers has had a crash or near miss as a result of the music they were listening to¹.
Safe In Sound was composed by professional musicians in collaboration with Dr. Simon Moore, a Chartered Psychologist and university academic, who is an expert on the influence that music can have on people’s driving behaviour and decision-making abilities.
After conducting research, including interpreting brain imaging and cognitive safety analysis², Dr. Moore concluded that the safest music for motorists has a not-too-fast, not-too-slow ‘Goldilocks tempo’ of 50–80 beats per minute (mirroring the average human heartbeat), includes energetic movement and steady pulsation (such as baroque-style music), shuns lyrics altogether, has no repeating melodies and is of a low intensity and volume³.
Taking this into consideration fans of Bob Marley, Metallica, Jay Z and even Jamie Cullum might want to reconsider their musical persuasions behind the wheel, with the research showing that reggae, heavy metal, hip hop and jazz all encourage bad driving and are about as far from the blueprint for a safe song as it is possible to get.
All of these music styles were, unsurprisingly, given a wide berth in the production of Safe In Sound. Indeed, sticking closely to Dr. Moore’s guidelines a team of musicians emerged from the recording studio with an original track specifically designed to encourage alertness, smooth braking, accelerating and speed awareness.
Although not fitting any particular music genre, Safe In Sound includes elements of contemporary electronic music with classical and ambient sounds. The three-minute track can be downloaded for free from the MORE TH>N website or streamed from popular platforms including Spotify and Soundcloud.
In addition to Dr. Moore’s in-depth research, MORE TH>N SM>RT WHEELS conducted a survey with 1,000 motorists aged 17 – 25 to gauge the risks associated with listening to music and driving. Among the findings were:
- 20% of young drivers have had a crash or near miss while listening to music behind the wheel;
- Of those, over half (56%) claim that the music they were listening to influenced their driving, distracted them from the road and subsequently played a significant part in their crash or near miss;
- Over a third (34%) of those drivers said that rock music played a part in their crash or near miss, closely followed by pop (33%) and dance (19%);
- Among tracks cited as playing a part in a crash or near miss were AC/DC’s Back in Black and Britney Spear’s Toxic;
- 65% believe that the type of music you listen to when driving can affect alertness, braking, accelerating and speed;
- ’90% of young drivers admit to singing, dancing or both to music when driving; and
- Pop is the most popular genre of music to listen to when behind the wheel, with almost two thirds (64%) enjoying chart hits when travelling in their car. This is followed by rock (47%) and RnB (45%).
Kenny Leitch, Global Telematics Director at MORE TH>N, commented:
“Road traffic accidents remain the biggest threat to the safety and wellbeing of teenagers and young, inexperienced drivers. We launched SM>RT WHEELS telematics to not only encourage safe driving behaviours but also to actively reward young drivers who demonstrate them through reduced premiums.
“The track we’ve released today, Safe In Sound, very much mirrors the thinking behind SM>RT WHEELS – created out of robust scientific insights to aid alertness on the roads, smoother braking and accelerating and a greater awareness of speed limits.
“If 92% of young drivers are going to be listening to music every time they drive, we want to encourage them to choose the kind of music that won’t distract them or encourage erratic driving styles, but, instead to make choices that will help them to be safer on the road.”
1. Research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MORE TH>N among 1,000 drivers aged 17 – 25.
2. In addition to his own research, Dr. Simon Moore conducted a meta analysis of published academic research into the relationship between music and driving behaviours. To view Dr. Moore’s full research report please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Summary blueprint for the safest song to drive to, written by Dr. Simon Moore
- Brain imaging and cognitive safety research suggests that music is safer for drivers and arouses greater attention if the tempo of music follows a U-function;
- Music that is too slow causes decreased performance;
- Music that is too fast also causes decreased performance;
- Music that is fast but not too fast is ideal;
- This means music that is between 50-80 beats per minute is safest (it also mirrors the average heart rate which promotes a nice steady calming association);
- The music should have energetic movement and steady pulsation, indicative of Baroque style music (Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven);
- The louder the music the more likely drivers will miss vital cues to risk. Low intensity music seems to improve driving performance;
- There are no lyrics or there are very simple predictable lyrics/chorus – listening to spoken words is very distracting from a psychological perspective;
- It is not a well-known tune; and
- It does not contain a specific melody to sing, dance or hum along to.
About Dr. Simon Moore
Simon is a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society. He works with organisations in the areas of behavioural economics, emotion profiling and engagement. He has specialist knowledge of customer-brand personas. He is trained in psychometrics and statistical analysis. Simon is an author and regularly presents papers at academic and business conferences.