Do motorists' musical soundtracks affect driving habits? Survey says: Yes
Published Thursday, July 25, 2013 9:16AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013 10:25AM EDT
Anyone who’s ever warbled their lungs out while driving knows what it’s like: you hear your favourite song, you transform from everyday driver to rock star, and before you know it, you're driving much faster than you really ought to be.
Now, a new survey has found that the type of music drivers listen to can shine a light on what kind of driving record they have. And it seems that certain types of music make drivers more likely to get speeding tickets or be charged with more serious offences, such as careless driving and driving under the influence.
Kanetix.ca, an online comparison site for insurance and other financial tools, recently commissioned a survey of 1,000 Canadian drivers that asked what they liked to listen to in the car, as well as their driving habits and driving record.
When it came to lead-foot drivers, those who said they liked heavy metal music were more likely to get pulled over for speeding. In fact, about 48 per cent of them said they had one to three speeding tickets on their driving records, compared to just 40 per cent of the rest of the population.
That’s perhaps not surprising, says Kanetix’s Natasha Carr, who notes that metal often sounds loud, fast and angry, and that “transfers into your driving habits.”
But the survey also revealed a group of radio listeners who are even more likely to be pulled over for speeding: talk radio listeners. According to the survey, a full 49 per cent of drivers who regularly listen to talk radio have had one to three speeding tickets.
Carr says that may be because the topics discussed on these shows can often be so engrossing, drivers forget to watch the speedometer.
“When you’re listening to talk radio, you’re often really passionate about what’s on the radio. It could be about your favourite sports team and you’re upset,” she told CTV’s Canada AM Thursday.
That anger might then have drivers pushing down a little harder on the gas pedal and the next thing they know, they’re listening to the sound of a police siren and seeing flashing red lights in their rear-view mirror.
On the other end of the spectrum are classical music listeners. Carr says there weren’t enough of them in the survey to draw any real conclusions. “However, research has shown that the slower the music is, the slower a driver drives,” she said.
“We often drive to match the music.”
Perhaps all drivers could take a few notes from folk music listeners. The survey found that almost half of them (49 per cent) have never had a speeding ticket, compared to 37 per cent overall. They're also much more likely to have never been pulled over by a police officer.
As for more serious driving infractions, only about two per cent of respondents said they had been charged with careless driving. But when that result was broken down by music genre, six per cent of hip hop listeners and four per cent of metal music listeners said they had faced such charges.
Hip hop listeners were also the most likely to have been charged with stunt driving, at four per cent compared to one per cent overall.
And finally, when it came to drinking and driving, country music and classic rock listeners were more likely to have thrown a few back before getting behind the wheel and being charged with a DUI.