Don’t Lose It To Music! These Are The Nation’s Most Streamed Songs NOT Suited For Driving

Don’t Lose It To Music! These Are The Nation’s Most Streamed Songs NOT Suited For Driving
Nation's Most Streamed Songs NOT Suited For Driving

New research by Budget Insurance analyses South Africa’s most-played songs and artists to uncover which beats could be making you a bad driver, as well as celebrating the provinces with the safest drivers.

  • Hip hop is the most distracting music genre, with albums by artists Young Thug, Doja Cat, Future, Gunna, 2 Chainz and Metro Boomin scoring within the top 10 highest for distraction score.

  • R&B and Gospel are good genres for driving to, as they tend to be the least distracting.

  • East London and Rustenburg are the cities with the safest drivers, based on the fact that they have the lowest number of car accident claims.

In an effort to help all drivers be ‘Good South Africans’, Car Insurance brand Budget Insurance has embarked on a nationwide campaign to uncover what makes the best drivers – is it down to music choice, or which province one is from?

By analysing newly released Spotify Wrapped data on South Africa’s most streamed songs and artists of the past year1,2, a data index ranking 680 songs has uncovered which are the most distracting for car journeys, as well as which are the least distracting, for a smoother – and safer – drive.

It’s perhaps no surprise that studies have found loud music can impair human driving performance3 and increase an individual’s heart rate, causing more excitement and leading motorists to focus more on the music than on the road4. For an optimal driving performance, researchers at the London Metropolitan University found songs which mimic the average resting heart rate with a tempo of between 60 and 80 beats per minute (BPM) and that are 55 to 65 decibels in volume are the best to choose4.

By individually ranking song attributes including loudness, BPM, how energetic the song is and how easy it is to dance to, Budget Insurance assigned a distraction score to each song to assess its suitability for driving. The insurer also ranked South Africa’s top tracks to listen to when driving – and the results may make you rethink your driving playlist.

The Most Distracting Artist Albums

If you’re a diehard hip-hop fan, you might want to look away now! With album distraction scores of over 65%, ‘Business is Business’ by Young Thug (66%), ‘Scarlet’ by Doja Cat (66%), ‘Wait for You’ by Future (66%) and ‘A Gift & A Curse’ by Gunna (65%) each feature within the top five. Each song on Young Thug’s ‘Business is Business’ album has between 93 – 170 BPM, which certainly amps up the heart rate!

Likewise, the amapiano album ‘Isimo’ by Kabza De Small (66%), in third place, features songs with super high danceability scores (between 72 – 86), which could turn your commute into a dance-off on wheels.

The Top Artist Albums To Drive To

Let this playlist be your roadie! Each of the top 15 artist albums has an average distraction score under 60%, making them better suited for driving. Within the top 5 are the soothing R&B and uplifting gospel sounds of Summer Walker’s ‘Last Day of Summer’ (44%), Brent Faiyaz’s ‘Wasteland’ (46%), Joyous Celebration’s ‘Joyous Celebration 25’ (51%) and SZA’s ‘SOS’ (55%). Or, for just the right amount of amapiano energy, pop on local artists Kelvin Momo’s ‘Amukelani’ album (50%) and Mas Musiq’s ‘Nini na Nini’ album (55%), so you can buckle up, hit play, and drive through life with the perfect soundtrack, which hopefully won’t send you off-track.

The Most Distracting Driving Songs

When looking at individual song data for South Africa’s most streamed songs of 2023, three songs scored over 70% on the distraction scale, amping up the car chaos: Mthandeni SK’s ‘Paris (79%)’, Dave’s ‘Sprinter’ (72%) and Rema’s ‘Calm Down’ (72%) which, ironically, will race your heartbeat faster than your odometer due to its high scores for energy (85.86) and danceability (77.15).

Be warned: hip-hop and amapiano songs by Soa Mattrix, Gunna, Lil Durk, Lady Amar, Drake, 21 Savage, Latinover Pounds and Kabza De Small also rank highly for distraction scores, so these musical troublemakers could take your car for a wilder ride than you bargained for!

The Least Distracting Driving Songs

Smooth amapiano anthem ‘Yahyuppiyah’ by Uncle Waffles has the lowest distraction score (34%), making it the perfect driving song for minimal distraction, with ‘Peacock Revisit’, a second song from the artist, hitting third place (43%). Also making the top five songs are homegrown South African gems, including De Mthuda’s ‘Sgudi Snyc’ (42%), Spirit Of Praise’s ‘Thath’Indawo’ (47%) and Kelvin Momo’s ‘Sukakude’ (47%). Turn your car into a zen haven with these mellow vibes that are perfect for navigating traffic without losing your cool.

The Provinces With The Best Drivers

According to Budget’s Car Insurance accident claims data for 20235, Northern Cape, Freestate, and Limpopo are the three provinces with the lowest total number of accident claims and safest drivers, whilst East London, Rustenburg, Centurion and Pietermaritzburg cities topped those with the lowest accident claims.

The provinces with the highest recorded number of car accident claims and least safe drivers were KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng, with Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town topping the list for cities5.

However, when considering car accident trends over the past two years, the provinces that have seen the biggest percentage increases in number of claims were Mpumalanga (+31%), Western Cape (+22%) and Gauteng (+21%), with Centurion (+54%), Rustenburg (+39%) and Cape Town (+36%)5.

Expert Tips For Driving Like A ‘Good South African’

Head of Budget Insurance, Tyrone Lowther, explains, “Music can make car journeys good fun, but do consider the below safety measures to help you keep your cool and ensure you are driving like a Good South African each time you’re behind the wheel. Five of my top tips, include;

1. Volume control: lower the beats and avoid a traffic jam in your mind. Loud music impairs your focus and prevents you from picking up on important traffic cues around you. So, turn down the volume and drive with clarity.

2. Melodic mood booster: create a playlist or choose a radio station that uplifts your mood and encourages a relaxed mindset. R&B, Gospel and Amapiano are among the least distracting music genres.

3. Calm commute: avoid raging symphonies or rock concerts. It’s not advisable to drive when you’re highly frustrated or angry. For example, AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” hits 133 bpm which can set your heart rate racing!

4. The quiet drive: sometimes, silence is golden. On occasion, you should try to tune out entirely to ease the stress and enjoy a peaceful drive without any music.

5. Keep your eye on the prize: that means the road. Did you know, South Africa has one of the highest road crash rates in the world, with around 25% caused by cell phone use6.”

For more expert driving advice and to view all study data visuals, please visit: