The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Classical music makes driving more dangerous than hip-hop or heavy metal, researchers say. | March 24, 2013

By Jacob Stockinger

Yesterday was the good news: Making music can be good for health.

It can lower blood pressure and enhance a feeling of well-being.

Today comes the bad news: Listening to classical music leads to traffic accidents, more so than other music, researchers say, including hip-hop and heavy metal.

One person died in this three-car crash. (KATU News photo)

Perhaps that is because the music is better and more engaging, or more difficult to ignore.

But that positive quality could be deadly.

Here is a link to the story on NPR’s “Deceptive Cadence” blog:

Ad here is a link to original British story:

radio dashboard

What do you think?

Will this research discourage you from listening to your favorite classical radio station or classic music?

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. when I always listen to classical music in my car, people always stares at us! its just plain rude to stare like that.

    Comment by me — October 10, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

  2. I prefer not having the radio on at all, but since I am seldom alone driving and am almost required to listen to something, I choose classical music to any other form (most of what’s called “music” these days is either “praise goop” or unmusical noise), and talk radio (what passes for liberal or left of center, as opposed to the neo-fascist propaganda on AM). Since I have caused only two accidents (both of them backing up) in sixty five years of driving, I’m not doing too badly.

    Comment by Alan W. Green — March 26, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

  3. The last time I was stopped by a police officer for speeding I was driving though open countryside to Cambridge and had the Wagner really cranked up. I think I was singing along with it.
    Pretty soon I saw red and blue flashing lights in my rearview mirror! I turned off the Wagner. Fortunately, when the officer saw my gray hair and ladylike demeanor 😉 he just issued me a warning.He told me he was pretty sure I wouldn’t do that again. So I guess I agree with that study.

    Comment by Ann Boyer — March 25, 2013 @ 10:51 am

  4. This research sounds right to me, having been busted for speeding while musically distracted a few years ago ( ) – I blamed it on the Ligeti, baby…

    Comment by Chan S. — March 24, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

  5. listening to classical music on the radio or on CD’s in the car has gotten me through more difficult driving situations than I can count–the most memorable was seeing a driver in front of the me in the wilds of the U.P. hit a deer, watch the deer go over his hood and fall off into the ditch, while he kept driving–I kept driving too, alert and calm and not screaming!

    Comment by Mary Gordon — March 24, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

  6. Busted! I don’t think I’ve run a red light yet, but I do find myself sitting at green ones until somene honks. Particularly dangerous: Beethoven’s Opus 131 — not the best choice for driving.

    Comment by Susan Fiore — March 24, 2013 @ 8:52 am

  7. No, it most certainly will NOT discourage me from listening to classical music in the car while driving. Just the other evening I had to make a double run to BestBuy to replace a DVD copy of The Hobbit I had just purchased, as it had been opened, and the main disc removed, all right at closing time. On both the mad dash out there and the return trip home, I had a CD of the piano nocturnes of John Fields playing. A better soother than a Ricola cough drop! Metal and hip-hop are “fine” for those to whom that “music” means anything. It is true that there is more musical “there” there in most classical programming. But, content is in the ear of the beholder, is it not?

    Comment by Michael BB — March 24, 2013 @ 8:16 am

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