Study finds that listening to Slipknot can make you a more dangerous driver

Slipknot (Image credit: Alexandria Crahan Conway)

A new study has found that listening to heavy metal while driving can make you a more dangerous driver.

The research was conducted by Auto Express magazine and road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, and saw reporter Tristan Shale-Hester put through his paces on a simulator.

He drove two virtual laps of Austria’s Red Bull Ring while listening to a variety of musical genres at full volume – and discovered that blasting out (sic) by Slipknot made his driving more erratic and “made it harder to concentrate on the circuit layout.” His throttle movements were also found to be more “jagged" than usual.

The study found that out of metal, hip hop, classical and pop, it was pop that created the best atmosphere for controlled driving.

Auto Express editor-in-chief Steve Fowler says: “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.”

The ferocious thrash metal reduced the ability of the driver to get around the track smoothly

IAM RoadSmart's Tim Shallcross

IAM RoadSmart head of technical policy Tim Shallcross adds: “What is clear is that the ferocious thrash metal really reduced the ability of the driver to get around the track smoothly. 

"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.

“Volume is the major factor for concentration and has a big effect. I would certainly advise drivers to dial down the noise when making a manoeuvre – and save the thrash metal for later in the day, or night!”

Earlier this year, a Canadian motorist found himself on the wrong side of the law when he was caught putting his foot down when Motley Crue’s Kickstart My Heart came on the radio.

And last year, music fan Luke Mitchell was caught speeding down the M4 motorway in the UK while listening to Andrew WK track Music Is Worth Living For.

The big-hearted vocalist stepped in to offer to pay the driver’s £100 fine after he saw the news on Twitter. Mitchell thanked Andrew WK, but asked him to donate the cash to charity instead.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.