How Loud Should You Play Music in Your Car?

Loud music is something many people appreciate, especially when driving. While it may have its repercussions, it also has several advantages, among them entertainment.

In recent years, people have conducted extensive research to determine whether listening to loud music in the car is illegal. While there are no set decibel levels for how loud your music should be, it is crucial to consider your surroundings.

This article will go over the following topics:

  • The laws on playing loud music
  • The reasons, effects, and solutions for playing loud music
  • What to consider when playing loud music in your car

Related Laws in the United States

In the United States, there are no laws prohibiting you from listening to loud music in your car. Police officers cannot also arrest you for playing loud music unless it’s causing noticeable distractions.

Nevertheless, in some states, you can’t listen to loud music at certain times. For example, quiet hours in Los Angeles are said to be between 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. As a result, if you play loud music during these times, you risk being reported. These peaceful hours are even longer on holidays and weekends.

Let us look at different states and their rules when it comes to loud music in cars.


The rules are very clear in this state. You may listen to loud music in your automobile as long as someone standing 25 feet away does not hear it.

To be on the safe side, it is best if you turn up the volume of your music to where only you can hear it. Follow this rule, especially near schools, hospitals, or churches.


Compared to Florida, the rules in this state are lax. You can play your music as long as it is not audible from a distance of 50 feet.

Emergency vehicles, such as police cars and ambulances, are exempt from this law. Therefore, do not file a noise complaint against such vehicles.

You can also honk but only to a limited extent.

New York

You can listen to loud music in your car as long as the volume isn’t higher than 15+dB at a distance of 15 feet.

It’s crucial to check your car’s audible levels to ensure you’re not exceeding your state’s distance limit. Even if your car is soundproofed, some noise can escape, which is why an audibility test is necessary.

The noise rules in the United States are straightforward. You may receive a traffic violation if you are willingly being disruptive with your loudness. This punishment also applies if you refuse to lower the volume after being asked to.

Related Laws in the United Kingdom

The regulations in the United Kingdom regarding playing loud music are not so clear. When you make a complaint, the police usually have the last say. There are also no limits on the time you can listen to loud music.

However, there is the rule under 148 of the highway code. Simply put, you may not play distracting loud music. If you do so, you can be fined up to 100 euros, as well as points on your license.

You are considered a threat if the music in your car is so loud such that you can’t hear car sirens, car honking, or potential hazards. Consequently, you could lose your driving privileges and attract a fine of 5000 euros.

The bottom line is, in the United Kingdom, you can listen to loud music anytime while driving. It only becomes an issue if it is excessively loud and causes you to lose touch with your surroundings and the control of your vehicle.

Reasons For Listening to Loud Music

There are various reasons as to why one may want to listen to loud music; they include:

  • It calms the mind
  • It provides you with a surge of energy.
  • It lightens up your mood after a long day
  • It prevents you from falling asleep, especially when driving long distances.

However, since these are justifiable reasons, loud music bears some negative effects.

Effects of Loud Music in the Car

Causes Distractions

When you listen to loud music in your car, you are likely to become addicted to the song and its lyrics. As a result, the music will divert your focus from the road. You may miss a bump or, in the worst-case situation, cannot notice someone crossing the street.

Causes Over speeding

As previously stated, you may become engrossed in the song when driving. Consider this, you’re listening to a fast-paced song. Your energy levels will therefore match that of the song, prompting you to over-speed and drive dangerously. Over speeding is a serious traffic offense.

Prevents You From Hearing What’s Going On Around You

If you’re listening to loud music, you won’t be able to hear ambulance sirens, police sirens, or even car horns. You might not hear a car honk at you to move over. Accidents could result from this.

Think about a scenario where a patient is in an ambulance that is traveling. The siren won’t be audible if the music is too loud. The patient’s life will be in danger if the ambulance is forced to travel at your speed in this situation. Just how awful is that?

Causes Delayed Reaction Time by the Driver

If you are so engrossed in music, it may be difficult to veer away from other vehicles quickly enough, resulting in a collision. Also, you may end up running over people or animals crossing the road.

Causes Hearing Impairment

Just like listening to music using headphones at high volume harms your ears, so does loud music in cars.

If you are listening to music above 90 decibels, you are highly likely to destroy your eardrums. In most cases, you will suffer from temporary hearing problems. And if you ignore this factor, you will end up completely losing your hearing ability.

You are advised to play music while driving at a sound of 80 decibels.

Things to Consider When Listening to Loud Music in Your Car

Close Your Car’s Window

It is essential as it reduces the volume of the music from the outside. In such a scenario, only you will be subjected to loud music. Therefore, other people will not be distracted and you will not receive a noise complaint.

Avoid Residential Areas

Residential areas are places where people are living as a community. Mostly these areas are usually quiet since families live there. Therefore, if you drive there while blasting loud music, families will be agitated and file a noise complaint.

If you know you’ll be passing through such neighborhoods, turn down the volume of your music to ensure a pleasant and peaceful journey. Once you are out of such an area, you can increase the volume to your desired level.

You Should Be Able to Know What’s Happening on the Road

When driving while listening to loud music, you should be able to hear what’s happening around you on the road. You should hear police and ambulance sirens and other cars honking. If you can hear such sirens, it means that you are still in control of your driving, and you can respond appropriately.

Avoid Playing Loud Music with Dirty Lyrics When Driving Near Schools or Religious Facilities

Playing loud music near schools may cause distractions to youngsters learning. As a result, keep your volume modest; otherwise, teachers will file complaints.

This holds true for churches, mosques, and temples. People may be praying or listening to a sermon thus, inappropriate noise may disturb them.

Also, be careful what kind of music you play near these establishments. Make sure the music doesn’t have any offensive lyrics.

Seek Permission Beforehand

While playing music in a parking lot is the safest option, make sure you get permission first. You might be in an area where playing music in a parking lot is prohibited.

As previously said, each state has its own set of rules concerning music. So, when you ask for permission, you will be positive you are not breaking any rules.

Cooperate if a Cop Pulls You Over

Avoid confrontation when a cop pulls you over. Unnecessary confrontations may upset the cop, who will then punish you unfairly. Instead, it’s better to tell the cop that you weren’t aware of the rule or were unsure.

You can also apologize and assure them it will not happen again. If they insist on arresting you, cooperate until you have a better idea of what to do next.

Ways to Stop Loud Music in Other Cars

It isn’t very pleasant when loud music disturbs your peace. There are various ways to stop loud music in cars, especially if it is causing distractions on the road or in your neighborhood.

Of course, the first step will be to approach the person in the car and ask them to tone down the music. If they refuse, proceed to these steps.

In the U.S.

If the noise is causing a massive disturbance, contact law enforcement through 911. You can also contact your area’s police department website.

Normally, on the website, they have a page for noise complaints. If your state does not have one, check online for a police contact to report general crimes.

In the UK

As it is in the U.S., you should only report noise complaints to the police in extreme situations. Contact 101 to talk to the police. For mild or non-emergencies, call 999. You can also contact the police U.K. at their online reporting portal.

Also, you can contact your area’s local council. This is through the local health department. Each council has an environmental problem team to listen to your complaint and resolve it. For instance, if you live in Great Manchester, report here.

It is also important to note that when reporting a noise complaint to the authorities, make sure you have gathered enough evidence. Otherwise, it may end up being your word against the accused.

Such evidence includes

  • The time and the date the loud music was playing
  • The number plate of the vehicle playing loud music
  • A video or audio of the occurrence

Final Word

Loud music is enjoyable, but it should be done in moderation. Make an effort not to disturb those around you, as not everyone enjoys loud music. Besides, we all have various musical preferences – your choice of music may be noisy to someone else.


Can people hear music from my car?

It depends on the car. Is your car soundproofed or not? If your car is properly soundproofed, it will be hard to hear music from outside unless your windows are open.

Also, if you are singing along with the lyrics. How loud are you? Are you singing softly, or are you singing at the top of your voice? If you are singing loudly, obviously people from outside will hear you.

How do I stop myself from hearing loud music from a car?

Earplugs and noise-canceling earmuffs come in handy. When you use the two together, they cancel the different wavelengths coming from the vehicle. However, note that this is not a permanent solution.

What is the best way to obtain extreme bass in my car?

Switch the bass-line boost off, switch the sub-woofer amplifier gain down, and turn the minimal pass filter up. Switch on the headphone amplifier and set the tone settings to the middle.

Lastly, play your favorite music with the best beats. Play it under high, mid, and low ranges.

Can neighbors file a noise complaint during the day?

It is possible to file a noise complaint at any time of day as long as there is a disturbance.