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Opinion: why listening to Alexandra Burke's 'Hallelujah' while driving is dangerous

It's March, so it must be time for a vital Christmas driving tip!

Published: 06 Mar 2023

I hope I am not too late, but I fear I may be. I have just been made aware of a crucial piece of driving advice, one that could save thousands – maybe millions – from danger, and I feel duty-bound to share.

This vital motoring revelation comes from a company called Chill, who describe themselves as ‘Irish car insurance experts’. (Experts in Irish car insurance? Irish experts in car insurance more broadly? Tantalisingly unclear.)

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And Chill’s vital road safety tip is this: while driving, you must not, under any circumstances, listen to Alexandra Burke’s popular Christmas single Hallelujah.

Now, I realise this advice would have been more useful if you’d discovered it before Christmas. But I don’t check my spam folder that often, and I’m thinking, hey, some radio stations play Alexandra Burke’s popular Christmas single Hallelujah in early March, right? And if this column saves just one motorist from a Burke-related catastrophe (a Burkalamity?), I can sleep easy at night.

You may be wondering exactly what’s so dangerous about listening to Alexandra Burke’s popular Christmas single Hallelujah while driving. Well, fear not, because there’s serious science behind it. Perish the thought that Irish car insurance experts Chill simply cooked up a Christmas press release as a cheap way of generating a bit of publicity from lazy journalists on deadline. Oh no. This is a revelation rooted in medicine.

It’s all about the beats. Irish car insurance experts Chill drew upon research from the South China University of Technology, which found that songs with a tempo over 120bpm (beats per minute) could cause dangerous driving behaviours, impacting the driver’s cardiovascular, physiological and psychological states.

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While most Christmas singles tick along well below 120bpm, Hallelujah clocks a terrifying 180bpm, apparently making it the audio equivalent of attempting to carve a family turkey while driving in the outside lane of the M4. While on fire. Yes, Hallelujah must not be listened to while driving because it’s dangerously exciting.

Now then. You, like me, may not associate Alexandra Burke’s popular Christmas single Hallelujah with phrases like ‘dangerously exciting’. Certainly not when compared to, say, German thrash metal. Or your average lullaby.

You might, like me, have considered Hallelujah more likely to induce narcolepsy than road rage. You might, like me, think that, if your science says Alexandra Burke’s Hallelujah is a danger to public health on the grounds of over-excitement, maybe your science needs a bit of a tweak.

But that’s exactly why you and I aren’t in the business of cutting-edge motoring research! That’s why we should leave these important matters to Irish car insurance experts Chill! They’re experts for a reason!

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(In fact, Irish car experts Chill found there was only one Christmas song even more dangerous than Hallelujah to consume while driving: Shakin’ Stevens’ rage-inducing Merry Christmas Everyone, which revs to a potentially lethal 203bpm. No wonder he was shakin’.)

Consider yourself duly warned for next Christmas, kids. Don’t Burke and drive.

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