Britain’s top 20 driving songs REVEALED - plus special safe driving playlist

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Our mega music poll
Which music genres are best for driving?
Our expert has his say
Britain’s top 20 driving songs
Our ‘Safe Tunes’ playlist

Roll the car windows down and turn the volume up! We’ve put together a list of the UK’s 20 most popular driving songs - as well as a special ‘Safe Tunes’ playlist.

Working closely with an expert psychologist, we’ve found the best songs for concentrating, staying alert and staying calm. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to hit the road!

Our music mega poll

We asked 2,000 Brits for their ultimate driving playlist - and the results did not disappoint!

A huge 92% of people admitted to singing along to their favourite tunes while driving and with the floor-fillers and stadium anthems on our list, we’re not surprised.

But which songs were most popular, and which genres are best for concentration, staying calm and staying alert?

Which music genres are best for driving?

Pop, R&B and rap were found to be amongst the top genres of music people feel more alert listening to while driving.

Revealing the importance of music on the road, our research found one third (34%) of drivers listen to music to stay alert and a quarter rely on music when driving at night.

Pop and rock are the top genres for concentrating, with 45% of drivers believing these styles of music helps them concentrate better behind the wheel.

Not surprisingly, classical music and soul are the nation's favourite genres for feeling calm when driving. In fact, one in five drivers will listen to classical music in order to help them feel calm when they are driving.

Our expert has his say

Lee Chambers, our expert psychologist, revealed different songs and genres can impact how we drive.

He said: “Travelling at speed, navigating directions and other road users can make journeys stressful.

"While we can't control congestion or how other road users behave, there are some things we can control.

“Calming music can centre and ground you when feeling frustrated or angry.

“The qualities in music that activate these psychological and emotional responses are lower tempo, simple melodies that are predictable in flow and don't have booming unpredictable beats, and the genres where you often find this are softer pop tracks, classical music and ambient world pieces.”

Lee said songs like To Build A Home by The Cinematic Orchestra or Traitor by Olivia Rodrigo could help here.

He added: "Alternatively, if you’re feeling fatigued and having brain fog, accessing some tunes which help with attention, focus and concentration can help you with that final few miles of a long journey.

“In the case of which music does this well, it tends to be music that sits around 60 beats per minute, is rhythmic and stimulating, but generally doesn't have catchy lyrics that can distract us. Some of the faster classical compositions do this well, as well as ambient tracks designed to help you concentrate on movie scenes or video game sequences.”

A good example here is Cirrus by Bonobo or Cinnamon girl by Lana Del Rey.

Lee said: "Finally, there are days when you get in the car, and you just feel flat and uninspired. We've all been there at a point where we've had a bad night's sleep, or we are travelling home late. We just feel a little fatigued and lacking in energy, and we don't feel like we have that laser clarity we normally have.

“Studies have shown that high tempo songs can increase cognitive performance, which is exactly what you are searching for when everything feels like it is slowing down. In research, these are known as power songs and are often around 120 beats per minute.”

For this, look no further than classics such as Dancing Queen by ABBA or Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi.

Drumroll please… Britain’s top 20 driving songs

Enough fanfare! Here’s Britain’s top 20 driving songs, as voted for by YOU.

  1. Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Abba – Dancing Queen
  3. Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
  4. Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
  5. Pharrell Williams - Happy
  6. Survivor - Eye of the Tiger
  7. Billy Joel – Uptown Girl
  8. The Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling
  9. Europe – The Final Countdown
  10. Journey - Don’t Stop Believin’
  11. The Killers – Mr Brightside
  12. Spandau Ballet - Gold
  13. U2 – It’s a Beautiful Day
  14. Kings of Leon – Sex on Fire
  15. Michael Jackson – Thriller
  16. Oasis – Wonderwall
  17. The Beatles – Hey Jude
  18. David Bowie - Heroes
  19. Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk
  20. Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Our ‘Safe Tunes’ playlist

Lee has also developed a special ‘Safe Tunes’ playlist - highlighting which songs are best for concentrating, staying calm and staying alert.

Top tracks for concentration:

  • Cirrus – Bonobo
  • Cinnamon Girl – Lana Del Rey
  • Patience – Guns n Roses
  • Super Rich Kids – Frank Ocean
  • Ben Howard, Promise

Top tracks for staying calm:

  • Carnival of the Animals: The Swan, Camille Saint-Saens
  • To Build A Home – The Cinematic Orchestra
  • Traitor – Olivia Rodrigo
  • Visiting Hours – Ed Sheeran
  • Skinny Love - Birdy

Top tracks for staying alert:

  • Happy - Pharrell Williams
  • Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
  • Abba – Dancing Queen
  • Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
  • Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

To listen to Cuvva’s Safe Tunes playlist, please click HERE.

Updated on 14th September 2021