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Pass the aux.


  • In a survey of American drivers’ on-the-road listening preferences, audiobook listeners were statistically the most likely to have speeding violations and car accidents on their record

  • Drivers with one or more speeding violations were 44 percent more likely to listen to personal music than the radio

  • Podcast listeners were 34 percent more likely to have a car accident on their record than the subset of all other respondents

  • Listening preferences statistically correlated with SUV and luxury vehicle ownership

What’s a road trip without a banging soundtrack? Or a commute to work without your daily news briefing? Some drivers out there can’t imagine driving without something to listen to once they hit the road. And for good reason, too: recent scholarship has highlighted how listening to music in the car can impact the “experienced mood” while driving, thus having an indirect effect on driver behavior.

Perhaps there’s not sufficient research that supports that cranking up Top 40 hits or the latest true crime podcast actually has any causal effect on how we drive. But the data scientists at Insurify wanted to see how driver behavior or car choice could map onto driver listening preferences—and they found out that there are, indeed, some correlations between driving history and what you play, stream, or outright blast over your car speakers. Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the stats below.

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The data scientists at Insurify, a platform that lets users compare auto insurance rates in real time, collected information from their database of over 1.6 million car insurance applications, which ask questions about users’ past seven years of driving history, vehicle type, and other relevant information. A random sample of shoppers was also surveyed about what they most often listen to while driving. From the response data, Insurify’s data team was able to determine the significant differences between categories of respondents.

Results: What’s the rhythm of the roads?

After all these years, radio still takes the cake, with over 40 percent of respondents tuning in to AM, FM, or satellite when they hit the pavement.

What to listen to in the car: listen to music, all cars preferences

Here were three more fascinating takeaways from the survey:

1. When your music’s a little too accelerando …

Ever make a playlist so fire that it gets you in trouble with the law? Ask some of our survey respondents. Speeders (that is, drivers with a speeding ticket from the past seven years on their record) were 44 percent more likely to listen to personal playlists or CDs than they were the radio.

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2. Car accidents: more common among the intellectually curious?

Could it be that more cerebral listening experiences will lead us astray on the roads? Among all survey respondents, audiobook listeners were the most likely to have a car accident on their record. (The same is true for speeding violations!) Podcast junkies were also statistically more likely to have an accident in their past; they were 34 percent more likely to get into a crash than the total of all other respondents.

3. Make, model, (no) music.

Insurify’s data scientists couldn’t definitively prove that that guy you always see in that Porsche is a below-average driver. But they did get an idea of what he might be listening to when he takes those wide turns. Indeed, the survey results showed that car type mapped onto listening preferences. Those who drive anything that can be classified as a “ luxury vehicle” were over twice as likely to listen to sports radio than they were anything else. And those steering an SUV largely opted out of personally curated playlists or CDs, preferring audiobooks to these at a 36 percent higher rate.

Data Attribution

The information, statistics, and data visualizations on this page are free to use, we just ask that you attribute any full or partial use to Insurify with a link to this page. Thank you!

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Insurify Insights
Insurify InsightsData & Research Team

Insurify’s team of data scientists and content specialists presents Insurify Insights, a series of automotive, home, and health studies focusing on the topics that impact us all. Through expert analysis of over 4 million car insurance applications and an array of top data sources, the Insurify Insights team produces new data-driven articles, trend analyses, regional superlatives, and national rankings every week. See Insurify Insights as featured in Forbes, Fox News, USA Today, NPR, and more.