Blog: Dave LeggettDuffy wailing 'good to drive to'

Dave Leggett | 11 March 2009

Hardly a week goes by without the news of a research finding by some university somewhere that makes me wonder how on earth these guys get away with it. There’s also the thought that society at large might benefit from these ostensibly bright people having their brainpower and time targeted on something more, well, useful.

I have just seen a press release in similar vein that tells us the results of some academic research. Word on the street folks: music ‘tempo’ affects driving style. So, think on next time you go for that Metallica album on your ride home. Why not listen to something more soothing instead? Spot of Duffy? Er, no thanks.

A team of scientists at the Ben-Gurion University in Israel carried out the study exploring the effect of music tempo on driving. They found that music tempo consistently affected both driving speed and the driver's perceived speed estimates: as the tempo of background music increased, so too did the driving speed and the driver's speed estimate.

The tempo of background music also consistently affected the frequency of traffic violations; disregarded red traffic-lights, road crossings and collisions were most frequent with fast-paced music.

Eve Oldfield, Cognitive Neuroscience specialist said: "The study results imply that music tempo increases driving risks by competing for attentional space in the brain; the driver is distracted and driving capacity reduced with the increase in the number of temporal events which must be processed and require larger memory storage."

"This is one of the first pieces of research that analyses the correlation between music tempo and driving capacity and proves that it's an important subject which requires further focus."

ACF Car Finance recruited musicians to review this week's current top ten and place them in order of tempo. Whilst the official single topping the charts this week is Flo Rida's 'Right Round', ACF Car Finance's number one chart tune to drive to is actually 'Love Song' by Taylor Swift. The 'Rockferry' album by blonde bombshell and recent Brit winner Duffy, was also highlighted as having a good tempo to drive to.


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