A new study has confirmed the suspicions of conservative drivers everywhere, revealing that listening to heavy metal music can directly cause bad driving.
Have you ever been driving along, obeying the speed limit and ensuring that the events in Grand Theft Auto stay as nothing but a fantasy, when a little bit of Slayer comes on?
Before long, you’re swerving all over the road and switching lanes without signalling, all because you wanted to channel your inner Kerry King with a bit of air guitar.
Well, now it seems there’s actually a little bit of scientific research to explain the reasoning for this erratic behaviour behind the wheel.
A new study from IAM Roadsmart and motor magazine Auto Express set out to determine what sort of effect various styles of music had upon drivers.
Consumer reporter Tristan Shale-Hester was asked to undertake two simulated precision laps of the Grand Prix track Red Bull Ring in Austria while listening to examples of thrash metal (‘(sic)’, by Slipknot), hip-hop (‘HUMBLE’, by Kendrick Lamar), classical (‘Goldberg Variations’ by Johann Sebastian Bach), and pop (‘Shake It Off’, by Taylor Swift).
What did the results show? Well, basically, the heavier that the music a driver is listening to, the more dangerous their driving can become.
Likewise, classical music can result in them being too relaxed, while pop music appears to be in the Goldilocks zone – providing just the right mood for controlled driving.
Check out ‘(sic)’ by Slipknot:
“Much of the focus around distracted driving is on using a handheld mobile behind the wheel, and rightly so,” explained Auto Express‘s editor-in-chief, Steve Fowler.
“But Auto Express’s joint research with IAM RoadSmart shows that 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.
“While heavy metal was clearly linked to Tristan’s worst lap, classical music fans may be interested to learn that some pieces appear to promote too deep a state of relaxation to be listened to when behind the wheel.”
“What is clear is that the ferocious thrash metal really reduced the ability of the driver to get around the track smoothly,” added IAM RoadSmart’s head of technical policy.
“That, and high-energy dance music, are designed to be felt as well as heard, and to be listened to at volume.
“It’s clear neither help when it comes to making exacting driving manoeuvres.”
Of course, this news shouldn’t shock anyone really, especially given how people have cited the erratic metal of Mötley Crüe and the upbeat pop of Halsey as the reason for recent speeding tickets.
“Music that is noisy, upbeat and increases your heart rate is a deadly mix,” explained researcher Dr. Simon Moore in 2012. “Fast beats can cause excitement and arousal that can lead people to concentrate more on the music than on the road.”
In related news, Slipknot fans will get a chance to catch them live later this year when they head to Australia as the support act on Metallica’s long-awaited WorldWired tour. However, before you hit the accelerator on your way to the gig, maybe chuck on a bit of Taylor Swift to make sure you arrive alive.
Check out ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift:
Metallica’s WorldWired Australia Tour 2019
With special guests Slipknot
Thursday, October 17th
Optus Stadium, Perth, WA
Sunday, October 20th
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, SA
Tuesday October 22nd (Sold Out) Marvel Stadium, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday October 24th
Marvel Stadium, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday October 26th
ANZ Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday, October 29th
QSAC, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday, October 31st (Sold Out) Mt. Smart Stadium, Auckland, NZ
Saturday, November 2nd
Mt. Smart Stadium, Auckland, NZ