Listening To Heavy Metal Impacts Driving: Study


Listening to loud heavy metal music in the car can make you a bad driver, a recent study by Auto Express and UK charity IAM RoadSmart has found.

Researchers looked at the effects of four different genres of music – thrash metal, hip hop, classical and pop – on consumer reporter Tristan Shale-Hester using a racing simulator. According to a release: “The two-lap test involved fast acceleration, a series of technically challenging corners and a speed-limited zone, completed by a controlled stop on the finish line at the end of the second lap.”

With no music playing, Shale-Hester completed the course in 4m 34s but while listening to Slipknot's "(sic)" at full volume, he was 14 seconds slower “and his throttle movements were far more jagged.”

Shale-Hester fared only slightly better listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” caused him to complete the laps only two seconds slower and Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” slowed him down only one second – but caused him to overshoot the finish line by four car lengths.

“Much of the focus around distracted driving is on using a handheld mobile behind the wheel, and rightly so. But … as well as making a conscious decision to put their phone away when driving, motorists should also think carefully about what music they listen to,” said Auto Express editor-in-chief Steve Fowler, in a release. “What is clear is that the ferocious thrash metal really reduced the ability of the driver to get around the track smoothly.

“Volume is the major factor for concentration and has a big effect. I would certainly advise drivers to dial down the noise when making a manoeuvre – and save the thrash metal for later in the day, or night!”