Need to calm down during high-demand driving situations?

According to the National Institute of Health, “listening to music can positively impact mood while driving, which can be used to affect state and safe behaviour.”

Well, duh. The calmer the tunes, the calmer the mood.

However, a recent study published by Ergonomics suggests that you don’t want to dilly dally around when switching over from Slipknot to Coldplay:

The current study shows that during high-demand drives, drivers are calmed more effectively using abrupt music changes compared to gradual music changes. This is illustrated by reductions in physiological arousal and improved driving behaviour. Hence, in-car music presentation can be used as a tool to improve driver’s mood and behaviour.

So the take-away is, switch over sooner rather than later.

But…what songs do you choose? When you’re stuck in a traffic jam or freaking out a little in a tight construction zone, which songs soothe you best?

Calm Songs for a Calm Mood

After a few informal Twitter and Facebook polls, some interested parties suggested these relaxing songs for driving.

It’s an eclectic mix of mellow music, no doubt about it, and many of the folks who contributed added disclaimers like “anything by [such and such.]” Some of the songs sing of romance, others of heartache, and some just about how we humans deal with life, but one thing they all have in common is their peace-inducing feeling.

  1. “Where Are You Going?” — Dave Matthews Band
  2. “Tiny Dancer” — Elton John
  3. “High and Dry” — Radiohead
  4. “Angels” — The xx
  5. “Strawberry Swing” — Coldplay (or, you know, just about anything else).
  6. “Thank You” — Dido
  7. “Orange Sky” — Alexi Murdoch
  8. “Such Great Heights” — Iron & Wine
  9. “Don’t Know Why” — Norah Jones
  10. “America” — Simon and Garfunkel
  11. “Into the Mystic” — Van Morrison
  12. “World On Fire” — Sarah McLachlan
  13. “Peaceful Easy Feeling” — The Eagles
  14. “Eastern Glow” — The Album Leaf
  15. “Into the Fire” — Thirteen Senses
  16. “Summer Breeze” — Seals and Croft
  17. “Fire and Rain” — James Taylor
  18. “And the Boys” — Angus and Julia Stone
  19. “River Flows In You” — Yiruma
  20. “Lay, Lady Lay” — Bob Dylan
  21. “No Other Way” — Jack Johnson
  22. “Let It Be” — The Beatles
  23. “Hands” — Jewel
  24. “Sunshine On My Shoulders” — John Denver
  25. “Hand In My Pocket” — Alanis Morissette
  26. “Cannonball” — Damien Rice
  27. “You Send Me” — Sam Cooke
  28. “My Heart’s On Fire” — Passenger
  29. “Aqueous Transmission” — Incubus
  30. “Landslide” — Fleetwood Mac

So, how about YOU, sweet readers? Which peaceful songs do you like to play when navigating intense driving situations?