The Type of Music You Listen To Could Increase Your Risk of Crashing, Study Says

The Type of Music You Listen To Could Increase Your Risk of Crashing, Study Says

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving can encompass a wide range of behaviors and distractions, ranging from talking or texting on cell phones to personal grooming. [1]

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one of the most common forms of driver distraction is listening to music. [2] In a recent study conducted by an Israeli music psychologist, the type of music can also play a contributing factor in car accidents.


Current Study: The Impact of Music Type on Driving Performance

Here are some details about what the study found:

  • The study was conducted by Professor Warren Brodsky, a director of music psychology at Ben-Gurion University in Negev. Brodsky published his findings in a book discussing the connection between music, emotion, and driving.
  • According to the study, Brodsky found that a person’s emotional connection to the music playing can have a significant impact on their ability to focus and drive safely.
  • For example, he found songs that invoke an emotional connection in the driver can be especially distracted – this includes happiness, sadness, and nostalgia. High-energy music can also cause a motorist to become unfocused.
  • Research showed that motorists should avoid music that evokes very powerful negative or positive feelings and that quickly changing tunes can help change a driver’s emotional state. Using his findings, Brodsky theorized new technology that could automatically change songs when it senses extreme emotional reactions to music.


Music and Emotion as Related to Safety

Music is an art form that has considerable influence on human emotions. It has been found to possess the ability to alter moods and impact a broad range of behaviors, including driving.

Reaction Time

Recent research carried out by scientists at Memorial University in Newfoundland has shown that listening to loud music can have a negative effect on reaction times and could increase the risk of car accidents. According to the study, reaction times can slow down by as much as 20% when someone is listening to music with a high tempo that is played at a loud volume. The research suggests that this is due to the distraction caused by the music, as it makes it harder for the brain to focus on other tasks, such as driving. As such, it would be wise to limit the volume and tempo of music played while driving, to reduce the risk of accidents on the road. [3]


A vast majority of drivers listen to music behind the wheel without realizing how distracting it can really be. After all, vehicles come stock with radios, stereos, and – in some cases – incredible sound systems.

Although listening to music is widely accepted, it can easily cause a motorist to become distracted, especially when drivers focus more on the song than on the road or enjoy themselves too much with passengers.


Aggressive Driving Behavior

Another study out of Israel found that listening to hostile music with violent content can lead to increased aggressive driving.

In the study, participants who were exposed to this kind of music demonstrated increased cruising speeds and spent a higher percentage of their time exceeding speed limits when compared to those who listened to non-hostile music. The researchers concluded that there is a strong link between aggressive driving and the music one listens to while driving.

Drivers who are exposed to aggressive or violent music may experience a heightened state of emotional arousal that leads to reckless and dangerous driving behavior. As such, it’s important to consider the potential effects of the music one is listening to while driving, and to choose music that promotes safe and responsible driving practices. [4]


Having helped many victims and families harmed in preventable accidents, our team at Shook & Stone would like to remind everyone about the importance of avoiding distractions behind the wheel. For victims and families who do suffer harm as the result of distracted or negligent drivers, it’s important to remember that you do have rights and that you can pursue compensation for your damages.

Contact Shook & Stone today to learn more about filing a personal injury claim after an auto accident.



[1] Distracted Driving | NHTSA. (n.d.). NHTSA.

[2] Home | NHTSA. (n.d.). NHTSA.

[3] The 7 Deadly Sins of Distracted Driving: Wrath (of Music). (n.d.). Auto-Related News, Trends, & Tips – I Drive Safely.

[4] Brodsky, W., Olivieri, D., & Chekaluk, E. (2018). Music genre induced driver aggression: A case of media delinquency and risk-promoting popular culture. Music & Science, 1.