Survey by Halfords found Christmas Melodies Affect Goodwill Among Motorists

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A new report, looking at the improved choice offered by digital radio, reveals drivers festive favourites - and the Christmas Music that can either enhance goodwill or turn us into Scrooge behind the wheel.

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Listening to music in the car can be soothing on a journey but these findings show that the wrong channel can make the same journey far less enjoyable for both the driver and other road users.

A new report looking at the improved choice offered by digital radio, reveals drivers festive favourites - and the Christmas Music that can either enhance goodwill or turn us into Scrooge behind the wheel.

The survey carried out by leading in-car entertainment retailer Halfords, shows that cheesy festive songs don’t just influence our mood, they can have a marked effect on our driving too.

Motorists questioned said that when their favourite yuletide melodies come on the radio they sing along in the car and their Christmas spirit meant they were more likely to be considerate to other road users as well.

However, when the most irritating Christmas tunes are aired, some respondents confessed they became so annoyed that their goodwill towards fellow drivers evaporated and normal driving standards suffered.

Almost nine out of ten drivers (88%) admitted that hearing Christmas tunes in the car affected their mood and behaviour when behind the wheel. Six out of ten (62%) said when a well-loved song came on they were less likely to be irritated by other road users and more likely to be more considerate to both motorists and pedestrians.

However, 17% admitted that when festive music that they disliked was played, they felt irritated more quickly by the bad decisions of other road users and were less likely to show politeness while behind the wheel.

The song named the most cringe-worthy in a survey of 1040 drivers was Mariah Carey’s 1994 hit “All I Want for Christmas is You,” followed by Paul McCartney’s “A Wonderful Christmas Time” and the Jackson 5’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.

Overplaying was blamed for many of the songs on the ‘hate list’, as constant radio repeats make them hard to avoid whether in the car, stores or restaurants. Mariah Carey’s sugary pop tune is the second most played song at this time of year according to the Performing Rights Society (beaten by the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl’s “Fairytale of New York”).

The best loved song to drive to was Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire) followed by Louis Armstrong’s Version of “White Christmas”. Three in ten (23%) said they preferred Christmas Carols while 11% said they hated all Christmas songs.

Surprisingly today’s top bands were hardly mentioned: Coldplay “Christmas Lights” and the Darkness “‘Christmas Time - Don't Let The Bells End’ attracted mentions by just 3% of those surveyed.

Some songs totally split opinion. Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and Slade’s “Merry Christmas Everyone” made the top ten list of the best and worst, as did Roy Wood’s Wizard, “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”.

Halfords In Car Technology Manager, Dave Poulter said: “Today’s new digital radios offer a far greater choice of channels and allow the driver instant control of what they listen to – meaning they can tune into or out of their favourite or most annoying tunes.

“Listening to music in the car can be soothing on a journey but these findings show that the wrong channel can make the same journey far less enjoyable for both the driver and other road users.

“The answer is to fit a digital car radio, as there are many more digital channels so drivers have more choice of what they listen to. Less than 2% of cars on the road today have a digital radio, which means there are up to 30 million drivers whose goodwill to others could be improved if they upgraded.”

Best Loved Christmas songs (spreading goodwill among motorists):

1. Nat King Cole “The Christmas Song – Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”
2. Louis Armstrong “White Christmas”
3. Pogues with Kirsty MacColl “Fairytale in New York”
4. Chris Rea “Driving Home for Christmas”
5. Bobby Elms “Jingle Bell Rock”
6. John Lennon “Happy Christmas War is Over”
7. Slade “Merry Christmas Everyone”
8. Bing Crosby “White Christmas”
9. Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas”
10. Roy Wood’s Wizard “I Wish it Could be Christmas Everyday”

Most Irritating (negatively affecting driver behaviour)

1. Mariah Carey “All I Want For Christmas”
2. Paul McCartney “A Wonderful Christmas Time”
3. Jackson 5 “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
4. Barbara Streisand “Jingle Bells”
5. Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas”
6. Wham “Last Christmas”
7. Elmo and Patsy “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer”
8. Madonna “Santa Baby” (cover version)
9. Wizard “I Wish it could be Christmas Everyday”
10. Slade “Merry Christmas Everyone”

http://www.halfordsautocentres.com

Notes to editors:

Halfords survey carried out by One Poll, Nov 2012, 1048 motorists.

About Halfords Group plc
The Group is the UK's leading retailer of automotive and leisure products and through Halfords Autocentres, also one of the UK's leading independent car servicing and repair operator.

Halfords customers shop at 467 stores* in the UK and Republic of Ireland and at halfords.com for collection at their local store or direct home delivery. Halfords Autocentres operates from 270 sites* nationally and offers motorists dealership-quality MOTs, repairs and car servicing at affordable prices.

Halfords employs approximately 12,000 staff and sells around 10,000 different product lines in stores, increasing to around 16,000 lines at Halfords.com. The product offering encompasses significant ranges in car parts, cycles, in-car technology, child seats, roof boxes, outdoor leisure and camping equipment.

Halfords own brands include the in-store Bikehut department, for cycles and cycling accessories, Apollo and Carrera cycles and exclusive UK distribution rights of the premium ranged Boardman cycles and accessories. In outdoor leisure, we sell a premium range of camping equipment, branded URBAN Escape. Halfords offers expert advice.

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Stuart Humphreys
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