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Safest and Worst Music Choices For Teen Drivers

Want your kid to be safe when they’re driving? Turn the radio to The River and leave it there!  No, seriously, this isn’t one of those cheesy, we’re-the-best type things.

In a study published in, researchers found that if teens listen to their favorite music, they’re more distracted than if they listen to softer “lite rock” music.

The researchers went out on six driving trips with a mix of male and female drivers; the music was different for each set of trips. On the first two trips, the kids played their favorite music; the second two trips were set to “lite rock” music; the final two trips had no music of any sort playing.  They found that some music was better than silence; driving with the softer music lowered errors by 20% over driving in silence.

Here’s what they found:

It should come as no surprise that teens love their music loud. Volumes in the car topped out around 100 decibels, and the group’s favorite music was “highly energetic and fast-paced,” according to Brodsky.

But almost every driver (98%) averaged three deficient driving behaviors when cranking his or her own tunes, the researchers said, and a whopping 32% of them required a verbal warning or command. Even worse, 20% required assisted braking or steering from the researcher to prevent an imminent accident.

Males committed more deficient driving behaviors than females regardless of which music was playing and were more often classified as aggressive drivers by the driving instructors.

The teens brought in a total of 1,035 pieces of music.  Dance, techno and rock were most popular, followed closely by punk, pop, hip-hop and rap. While there is no way to determine the most distracting song in the world, here is a short list of the more popular songs on the teen’s playlists:

  • “Champagne Showers” – LMFAO
  • “Bass Down Low” – Dev/The Cataracs
  • “Give Me Everything” – Pitbull
  • “I’m Into You” – Jennifer Lopez
  • “Tonight” – Enrique Iglesias/Pitbull
  • “Miami To Ibiza” – Swedish House Mafia
  • “Where Them Girls At” – David Guetta
  • ‘”Yeah 3x” – Chris Brown


flickr, State Farm

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