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Turn up some Queen: Drivers choose their favorite driving song

By Posted : July 22, 2020

Move over Journey. Freddie Mercury and the boys from Queen have the top driving song this year.music drive

Insurance.com commissioned a survey of 1,000 drivers and asked them to choose the best and worst songs for driving, as well as the music they listen to in the car that they don't publicly admit liking.

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen won as the top classic song to play on a road trip. The mini-rock opera edged out a song about a small-town girl and a city boy who took the midnight train going anywhere.

That song, Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, won a similar Insurance.com survey poll in 2014. In that poll, Journey barely beat Queen. This year, the late Freddie Mercury gets his revenge.

Here are the results from this year:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen -- 17%
  • Don't Stop Believin' by Journey -- 13%
  • Highway to Hell by AC/DC -- 12%
  • Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane -- 11%
  • Dancing Queen by ABBA -- 8%
  • Don't Stop ‘Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson -- 8%
  • I Can't Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar -- 6%
  • You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC -- 5%
  • Any Way You Want It by Journey -- 5%
  • American Girl by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers -- 5%
  • Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen -- 4%
  • Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival -- 4%
  • Radar Love by Golden Earring -- 4%

Bohemian Rhapsody was number one with women, while Highway to Hell ranked tops for men, barely edging out Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bohemian Rhapsody also won each age group except 25-34. Those drivers slightly preferred Highway to Hell to the Queen classic. However, drivers 65 and over really seem to love Queen -- 27% of people in that age group chose Bohemian Rhapsody.

Queen won all geographic areas, too, except for the Northeast, which liked Highway to Hell slightly more.

Bohemian Rhapsody has staying power despite being more than 40 years old. Which song from the past few years will be a go-to classic driving song in the coming years?

We found plenty of love for Bruno Mars and Lil Nas X.

  • Uptown Funk - Bruno Mars -- 18%
  • Old Town Road - Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus -- 14%
  • Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake -- 9%
  • Shut Up and Drive - Rihanna -- 9%
  • Radioactive - Imagine Dragons -- 9%
  • Mr. Brightside - The Killers -- 6%
  • Shut Up and Dance - Walk the Moon -- 5%
  • Teenage Dream - Katy Perry  -- 5%
  • Lookin' For a Good Time - Lady A -- 5%
  • Getaway Car - Taylor Swift -- 4%
  • One Last Time - Ariana Grande -- 4%
  • Castle On The Hill - Ed Sheeran -- 4%
  • Sorry Not Sorry - Demi Lovato -- 4%
  • Sucker - Jonas Brothers -- 4%

Uptown Funk won with both men and women and the four geographic areas. Bruno Mars also won each age group except 18-24, which chose Lil Nas X. Uptown Funk finished with only 3% in that age group.

We also let people write-in their favorites not listed in the survey. Popular write-ins included:

  • Jesus Take the Wheel -- Carrie Underwood
  • 24k Magic -- Bruno Mars
  • Dance Monkey -- Tones and I
  • Thunder -- Imagine Dragons

Guilty listening pleasures while driving

There are artists who you may enjoy, but don’t want anyone to know. You won’t Beliebe who’s number one on the guilty pleasure list:

  • Justin Bieber -- 12%
  • Taylor Swift -- 10%
  • Miley Cyrus -- 10%
  • Lady Gaga -- 9%
  • Katy Perry -- 8%
  • Britney Spears -- 8%
  • Bon Jovi -- 8%
  • Celine Dion -- 7%
  • Jonas Brothers --7%
  • Adele -- 6%
  • Kelly Clarkson -- 6%
  • Coldplay -- 6%
  • John Legend -- 6%
  • Journey -- 5%
  • Lana Del Ray -- 3%
  • Dan and Shay -- 3%

Bieber was tops for both genders and all age groups under 55. However, 55-64 chose Taylor Swift number one and those 65 and over picked Journey, Bon Jovi and Celine Dion as their guilty pleasure artists.

Bieber also won each geographic area, though he tied with Swift for favorite guilty pleasure artist in the Northeast.

Musical genres played on road trips

If you’re on a road trip, you’ll need more than Tom Cochrane to get you through. Many people prefer country music, classic rock or hip hop/rap when they hit the road.

Here’s what drivers enjoy on road trips:

  • Country -- 14%
  • Classic rock -- 14%
  • Hip hop/Rap -- 13%
  • Rock -- 9%
  • Top pop -- 8%
  • I listen to whatever music is on my phone through Bluetooth -- 6%
  • Alternative -- 5%
  • Soul/R&B -- 5%
  • Golden Oldies -- 5%
  • Christian/Gospel -- 5%
  • Heavy metal -- 4%
  • Jazz/Easy listening -- 3%
  • Electronic dance/Techno -- 3%
  • I don't listen to music in the car -- 2%
  • Instrumental -- 1%

Women chose country music as their favorite road trip music, while men picked classic rock. Hip hop/rap won out with the under-45 age groups, while classic rock dominated the older age groups.

We found similar musical tastes for when people are stuck in traffic.

  • Classic Rock -- 13%
  • Hip hop/Rap -- 12%
  • Country -- 12%
  • Rock -- 10%
  • Top pop -- 9%
  • Soul/R&B -- 6%
  • Christian/Gospel -- 6%
  • I listen to whatever music is on my phone through Bluetooth -- 6%
  • Golden Oldies -- 5%
  • Alternative -- 4%
  • Heavy metal -- 4%
  • Jazz/Easy listening -- 4%
  • Instrumental -- 3%
  • Electronic dance/Techno -- 2%

Country music tops the type of music that drivers love, but don’t like to admit it:

  • Country -- 10%
  • Classical -- 9%
  • Classic rock -- 8%
  • Rap/hip hop -- 8%
  • Light rock/Easy listening stations -- 7%
  • Opera -- 6%
  • Broadway tunes -- 6%
  • Heavy Metal -- 4%

We also asked if drivers are more of a Mick Jagger, Keith Richards or Charlie Watts on the road? Most said they like to belt out tunes:

  • Sing at the top of your lungs -- 82%
  • Play air drums -- 11%
  • Play air guitar  -- 8%

A whopping 90% of women say they sing while driving compared to 73% of men. Men are more likely to play imaginary instruments (16% of men and 5% of women play air drums and 11% of men and 5% of women play air guitar).

Sometimes, though, you don’t want to listen to music. We asked drivers what’s their top choice when not listening to music in the car.

  • I continually switch stations until something sounds good -- 21%
  • News -- 18%
  • Talk radio -- 16%
  • Podcasts -- 12%
  • Audiobook -- 9%
  • Sports talk -- 9%
  • Live sports -- 6%
  • NPR -- 5%

Women are more apt to switch around. Twenty-eight percent of women flip around the stations, while only 13% of men say they do that.

Two decades ago, drivers didn’t have as many listening choices in the car. Back then, you might have a handful of go-to radio stations on AM and FM. Now, people have countless options.

However, we found many still love their radio:

  • Regular radio -- 43%
  • Downloaded music on smartphone -- 21%
  • Streaming -- 19%
  • Satellite radio -- 15%

Women are more likely to listen to regular radio (48% compared to 39%). Men are more apt to listen to downloaded music on their phone (23% to 19%) and satellite radio (17% to 13%).

Who controls the dial when you drive?

Most respondents said the driver chooses the tunes.

  • Driver - because I drive alone -- 49%
  • Driver - whoever it is -- 33%
  • Mom - if driver or passenger -- 10%
  • Dad - if driver or passenger -- 3%
  • Kids - because I like to hear what they are listening to -- 3%
  • Kids - because I hope it stops them from whining in the car   -- 2%

Men are more likely to say they drive alone, so they control the radio dial (54% to 45%).

Sometimes, though, children want to listen to their music. What do parents do?

  • I let them, I like it too and/or it doesn't bother me -- 27%
  • I let them because it's easier than fighting over it -- 15%
  • I compromise and sometimes we listen to what they want, sometimes what I want -- 15%
  • Not an issue; they listen on their phones with headphones -- 10%
  • I don't let them; I dislike their musical taste -- 5%
  • I don't let them; I find their music inappropriate -- 3%

Safety dance: Don't be distracted

You’re on the road, enjoying Queen and signing at the top of your lungs. Make sure you’re still driving defensively and watching the road.

Distracted driving led to 2,841 deaths in 2018, including 1,703 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists. In 2017, 9% of fatal crashes involved distracted drivers. One type of distraction is changing radio stations.

Another reason why you want to avoid distractions while driving -- it can affect your auto insurance rates. Insurers use multiple factors when devising rates. Your crash and ticket records play a crucial part. If you’re involved in an accident or get a ticket, you may want to shop for a policy. Insurers base rates differently, so you might be able to find the same coverage for less money elsewhere.