Motorists drive faster and more erratically when listening to fast music, experts say. Drivers should keep music below 120 beats per minute, they add.
Volunteers in a simulator changed lanes about 70 times an hour when listening to light music or none at all -- but those listening to faster rock switched lanes 140 times. They also drove at up to 10mph faster.
The Chinese study calls for “a publicity program that could enhance public awareness of the negative impact of music listening on driving performance”.
Qiang Zeng, a co-author of the study carried out by South China University of Technology and Guangdong University of Technology, said: “Rock music is often characterized as having a fast tempo and high sound volume.
"The findings are useful for the development of effective driver education strategies — in particular, a publicity program that could enhance public awareness of the negative impact of music listening on driving performance.”
He added that the findings could also be incorporated into lessons to warn learner drivers of the risks. The team behind the study said their conclusions around safety would need to be corroborated by analysis of motorists’ real listening and crash data.
Another study suggested the song American Idiot by Green Day - at 189 beats per minute - was the “most dangerous” - with "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin the safest at 63 per minute.