What's on your road trip playlist? Americans say an ultimate track list is an absolute must for any ride

·3-min read

Six in 10 Americans have a carefully-curated playlist to set the mood when taking a road trip, according to new research.

In a survey of 2,000 Americans, results revealed playlists are so essential that they may be the ultimate make-or-break for a successful road trip.

Not having access to a playlist was enough to constitute a U-turn for some: 35% of respondents would actually be willing to "turn the car around" if they don't have everything they need to jam out to their music of choice.

What songs make an appearance on the best road trip playlists? Popular choices included "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd (39%), "Hotel California" by The Eagles (29%) and "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane (27%).

In addition to the 59% who have a curated playlist, 47% said they have a road trip memory tied to a particular song.

When asked to describe these music-related mementos, one respondent said, "Moving to Colorado a few years ago, heard 'As [W]e Ran' by the National Parks for the first time and it [sort of] became an anthem to going west to start over."

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Christian Brothers Automotive, the survey delved into the contents of Americans' playlists — especially the differences between generations.

Forty-two percent of respondents said they "couldn't stand" the music their parents played on road trips growing up, and 52% believe their generation's playlist-making skills are superior to those of other generations, with millennials most likely to agree (61%).

When it comes to how respondents listen to music, enjoying albums straight through may be dead, as only 10% said they do this.

Nearly half (42%) prefer to hit shuffle on their entire library and let fate determine what they're listening to, followed by 26% who like to have a set playlist of songs.

"As we began to see the number of COVID-19 cases decrease and more guests come to our stores to get their cars road-trip ready, we could feel their hope and excitement," said Donnie Carr, President of Christian Brothers Automotive. "Their eagerness got us thinking about all the things that make car trips fun and at the top of that list is listening to great music as you drive."

Carr's comments echo what respondents indicated, as 78% feel comfortable taking a road trip in the coming months.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 69% said they're currently more comfortable taking a road trip than they are with any other method of travel.

Even then, respondents are planning to take precautions. Results found 59% are planning to keep hand sanitizer and/or disinfecting wipes in the car to use at gas stations, while 58% will wear a mask for any indoor pit stops they may make.

Rounding out the top five precautions include packing their own snacks/food to minimize stops (56%), only traveling with people in their household (35%) and only traveling with those who are vaccinated (25%).

"Remaining healthy when traveling this summer is obviously still top of mind for Americans, as it should be, but we also want to encourage travelers to get their car's health checked out before hitting the road. Things like oil levels and windshield wiper blades should be looked at prior to any long-distance road trip," reminded Carr. "Because in our world, the sound of a well-tuned vehicle tops any playlist."