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 (opens in new tab) and road safety charity IAM RoadSmart (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).

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 looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.