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The best and worst songs for driving

Read which tunes drivers can't resist rocking out to -- and which ones make them want to drive into a ditch.

By QuinStreet Jan 15, 2014 11:30AM

This post comes from Michelle Megna at partner site on MSN MoneyDrivers haven't stopped believin' in Journey as the '80s chart-toppers had the No. 1 and No. 4 spots in's survey of best driving songs. commissioned a survey of 2,000 drivers and asked them to choose the best and worst songs for driving, as well as music they listen to in the car that they don't publicly admit liking.

The following percentage of voters chose these songs as the best car music: 

  • "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey: 30 percent
  • "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen: 27 percent
  • "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC: 22 percent
  • "Any Way You Want It" by Journey: 22 percent
  • "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane: 21 percent
  • "Dancing Queen" by ABBA: 19 percent
  • "American Girl" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: 16 percent
  • "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson: 15 percent
  • "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen: 14 percent
  • "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival: 14 percent
  • "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire: 13 percent
  • "Every Day is a Winding Road" by Sheryl Crow: 13 percent
  • "California Love" by 2Pac: 13 percent
  • "Drive My Car" by the Beatles: 13 percent
  • "Little Red Corvette" by Prince: 13 percent
  • "Runnin' Down a Dream" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: 12 percent
  • "This is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan: 11 percent
  • "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers: 9 percent
  • "Holiday" by Madonna: 9 percent
  • "London Calling" by The Clash: 6 percent

Photo of Journey & Steve Perry & Neal Schon, 1983
Charlyn Zlotnik/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Percentages total more than 100 because respondents were allowed to choose up to five songs.

Road warrior themes drove the popular write-in choices for best road music."Highway to Hell" by AC/DC, "Radar Love" by Golden Earring and "I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar topped the list of respondent picks for songs that people enjoy hearing in the car.

Worst songs for driving
Despite being played in sports stadiums nationwide, winning the Grammy for Best Dance Recording and becoming a popular cultural catch-phrase to kick off the turn of the century in 2000, "Who Let the Dogs Out?" only reached No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

Fourteen years later The Baha Men's break-out hit is finally No. 1 – on the list of songs that make you want to turn the radio off. Taylor Swift's break-up anthem and Cher's comeback dance-club song only trailed by 4 and 7 points, respectively, faring worse than even the earnest oldie "Feelings."

The following percentage of voters chose these songs as the worst car music:

  • "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by The Baha Men:  29 percent
  • "We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together" by Taylor Swift: 25 percent
  • "Believe" by Cher: 22 percent
  • "Feelings" by Morris Albert: 20 percent
  • "Papa Don't Preach" by Madonna: 18 percent
  • "Firework" by Katy Perry: 18 percent
  • "Mambo #5" by Lou Bega: 18 percent
  • "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt: 14 percent
  • "Arms Wide Open" by Creed: 13 percent
  • "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor: 12 percent
  • "Let's Hear it for the Boy" by Deniece Williams: 12 percent
  • "Caribbean Queen" by Billy Ocean: 10 percent
  • "Maneater" by Hall and Oates: 10 percent
  • "We Built this City" by Jefferson Starship: 8 percent
  • "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler: 8 percent

There are rumors circulating among the celebrity watchers that teen sensation Justin Bieber may take some time off from the spotlight, but apparently some drivers are already retiring his monster hit from 2010. When respondents wrote in the names of songs and artists that make them want to tune out immediately, "Baby" by Bieber, "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus and "any type of rap" were among the most popular station-switching songs.

Real men listen to Adele

In the rankings of bands, artists or stations drivers secretly listen to in the car, the pack of contenders were a close-knit bunch. Among drivers who have guilty-pleasure listening favorites, here are the top picks:

  • Bruno Mars: 12 percent
  • Taylor Swift: 12 percent
  • Lady Gaga: 11 percent
  • Journey: 9 percent
  • Katy Perry: 9 percent
  • Coldplay: 8 percent
  • Justin Bieber: 7 percent
  • Madonna: 6 percent
  • NPR: 6 percent
  • Rush Limbaugh: 5 percent
  • Howard  Stern: 4 percent

When guilty-pleasure listening is broken down by gender, tied for the top write-in response for women are Gospel music and Eminem; for men, Adele and 2Pac tied for top write-in response.

Safety dance: Don't be distracted

Whether you are jamming an air guitar solo or in full-body convulsions as you reach for the radio button to switch stations, keep your eyes on the road. Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event, according to an analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).

A separate report sponsored by the NHTSA found that "adjusting the car radio" (65 percent) and using a portable music player in the car (30 percent) are among the most commonly performed potentially distracting behaviors while driving.

Many factors go into setting your auto insurance rates -- including your age, the type of car you drive, your marital status, where you live and in most states your credit history – but your driving record is chief among them. Being a safe driver with no accidents will keep your rates lower.

Methodology surveyed 2,000 licensed drivers age 18 and older. Respondents were split evenly between males and females and distributed across age groups according to Census data on age distribution. The online-panel survey was fielded in October 2013. Percentages for best and worst songs total more than 100 because respondents were allowed to choose up to five songs in each category.

More from

Jan 15, 2014 4:27PM
Jan 15, 2014 3:46PM
What?  No "Radar Love" by Golden Earring?
Jan 15, 2014 4:32PM
Who voted for these?  They are lame choices.  Must be yuppies under 20.
Jan 15, 2014 5:22PM

Hot Rod Lincoln 

(I'm showing my age, but I was born 8 until years later)

Jan 15, 2014 4:56PM
"Highway to Hell by AC/DC or "I Can't Drive 55" by Sammy Hagar.
Jan 15, 2014 5:37PM
TAKE IT EASY                   EAGLES
HOTEL CALIF                     EAGLES

Jan 15, 2014 4:38PM
Jan 15, 2014 7:25PM

'Roundabout' by Yes, or 'Ramble On' by Led Zepplin

And the most popular choices were clearly picked from a very limited list put together by someone that doesn't know music.

Jan 15, 2014 6:55PM
"Let It Ride", "Roll On Down The Highway", "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive!!
Jan 15, 2014 6:01PM
sweet home alabama..  any lynard skynard
Jan 15, 2014 5:52PM
A couple random ones, but I've always enjoyed ZZ Top's "Cheap Sunglasses" while driving, and Metallica's "Orion" is great especially for night driving.
Jan 15, 2014 4:44PM

"Highway Star" -Deep Purple

"Red Barcheta" -Rush

"Jesus Built My Hotrod" -Ministry

"Dragula" -Rob Zombie

Jan 15, 2014 6:47PM

For night driving across the country anything by Pink Floyd.

Jan 15, 2014 7:46PM
"Groovin' " by the Young Rascals should have been on the first list.
Jan 15, 2014 5:41PM
Booker T and the MGs "Time is Tight" is my fav travel song,
Jan 15, 2014 5:27PM

Listen to the Music (Doobie Brothers),,,actually, any early DBs, great road trip music.

Crank. It . UP!

Jan 15, 2014 7:10PM
Jan 15, 2014 5:34PM

Fun, Fun, Fun  & Little Deuce Coup by the Beachboys?


My God - don't they know anything?

Jan 15, 2014 5:19PM
I did put my '66 Dodge Coronet into a snow bank wile changing a cassette once circa 1981.
Jan 15, 2014 5:58PM
sweet home alabama  and  any   lynard skinard
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