Highway Don't Care

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"Highway Don't Care"
TMG - Highway Dont Care cover.png
Single by Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift featuring Keith Urban
from the album Two Lanes of Freedom
ReleasedMarch 25, 2013 (2013-03-25)[1]
LabelBig Machine
Tim McGraw singles chronology
"One of Those Nights"
"Highway Don't Care"
"Southern Girl"
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Highway Don't Care"
Keith Urban singles chronology
"For You"
"Highway Don't Care"
"Little Bit of Everything"
Music video
"Highway Don't Care" on YouTube

"Highway Don't Care" is a song performed by American country music singer Tim McGraw and singer-songwriter Taylor Swift on vocals, featuring Keith Urban on guitar.[3] It was released in March 2013 as the third single from McGraw's first album for Big Machine Records, Two Lanes of Freedom (2013). The song was written by Mark Irwin, Josh Kear and Brad and Brett Warren.[4] McGraw and Swift recorded their parts separately.[5]


The song is a mid-tempo ballad where the male narrator is separated from his lover who is driving. Throughout the verses, he tells her what he "bets" she is feeling, when a song comes on her radio (its part sung by Swift) containing the lines "I can't live without you, baby." He also says that the highway she's driving on doesn't care if she's alone or if she's going home, but he does. The song is in D major with a main chord pattern of D-Bm7-Gsus2-A.[6] Keith Urban plays lead guitar on it.

Critical reception[edit]

Thom Jurek of AllMusic, in his review of the album, wrote that "the hook is irresistible and McGraw's vocal, paired with the young singer's, is a perfect match."[7] Chuck Dauphin of Roughstock also reviewed the song favorably, saying that "this song flows well, with winning performances from two of the format's top vocalists."[8] Billy Dukes of Taste of Country gave the song five stars saying that the track is arguably "one of the best collaborations of the decade – maybe even ever. Each artist brings his or her best effort to the song from McGraw's Two Lanes of Freedom album. 'Highway Don't Care' feels like a special moment from the very first listen, and only becomes more cathartic with time."[9] Jeff Benjamin of Fuse said the track has "major crossover potential".[10] The song was ranked 30th best country song of the 2010s by Taste Of Country.[11]


Year Organization Award/work Result Ref
2013 American Country Awards Collaborative Single of the Year Won [12]
Collaborative Video of the Year Won
Song of the Year (Songwriters Award) Won
Country Music Association Awards Musical Event of the Year Won [13]
Music Video of the Year Won
Single of the Year Nominated
2014 Academy of Country Music Awards Video of the Year Won [15]
Single Record of the Year Nominated
Vocal Event of the Year Nominated
BMI Awards Publisher of the Year Won [16]
Country Awards Top 50 Songs Won
CMT Music Awards Collaborative Video of the Year Nominated [17]
Video of the Year Nominated
iHeartRadio Music Awards Country Song of the Year Nominated [18]
Grammy Awards Best Country Duo/Group Performance Nominated [19]
CMC Music Awards International Video of the Year Won [20]

Chart performance[edit]

The single has also been a commercial success. "Highway Don't Care" debuted at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and number 43 on the US Billboard Country Airplay chart for the week of February 23, 2013, due to unsolicited airplay seven weeks before being released to radio.[21] It also debuted at number 59 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 23 on the Canadian Hot 100 for the week of February 23, 2013. The single also debuted at number one on the US Billboard Country Digital Songs chart with 86,000 downloads for the week of February 13, 2013.[22] On October 17, 2017, the single was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for combined sales and streaming data of over three million units.[23] As of November 2017, the song has sold 2.3 million copies in the United States.[24]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Shane Drake and premiered on May 6, 2013.[25] The music video for the song features Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban, as well as actors portraying the song's narrator and his lover. It was made in partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee and highlights the dangers of driving while distracted, particularly texting and driving. In the video, the narrator's lover mentioned in the song is driving, crying, and texting the narrator. After dropping her phone and trying to retrieve it, she drifts into the wrong lane while reaching across her car and collides with oncoming traffic. She is then airlifted by a Vanderbilt LifeFlight helicopter to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she is treated in the Adult Emergency Department. The video implies that she survives as the doctor comes out to see the girl's parents and the narrator, after which they are seen smiling happily and embracing that their daughters going to be ok.

The structure of the video at first seems to imply that Tim McGraw (as the singer/narrator and a character in the video) is the boyfriend who keeps being texted by the female driver. Upon the LifeFlight helicopter arriving at the hospital, the viewer realizes that Tim McGraw's character is actually the physician who saves the driver's life, and the texts he had been receiving earlier in the video were from the hospital paging/notifying him about this emergency. Taylor Swift was standing in the bedroom-curtain. Keith Urban was standing on the beach.[26]

Official versions[edit]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[37] 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "R&R :: Going For Adds :: Country". Radio & Records. Archived from the original on January 4, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  2. ^ McGraw, Tim; Swift, Taylor; Urban, Keith. "Highway Don't Care". Retrieved September 20, 2020 – via Shazam.
  3. ^ Wyland, Sarah (March 12, 2013). "Tim McGraw Collaborates with Taylor Swift & Keith Urban on New Single". Great American Country. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Conaway, Alanna (February 13, 2013). "Story Behind The Song: The Warren Brothers Discuss Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift's "Highway Don't Care"". Roughstock. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  5. ^ Stromblad, Cory (February 8, 2013). "Tim McGraw Spills on Recording 'Highway Don't Care' 'With' Taylor Swift, Keith Urban". Taste of Country. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  6. ^ Mark, Irwin. "Tim McGraw "Highway Don't Care" Sheet Music in D Major (transposable) - Download & Print". Musicnotes.com.
  7. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Two Lanes of Freedom – Tim McGraw". Allmusic. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  8. ^ Dauphin, Chuck (February 22, 2013). "The Weekly Single Recap: February 22, 2013: Tate Stevens, Tim McGraw & Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean & More". Roughstock. Archived from the original on March 1, 2013. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  9. ^ Dukes, Billy (February 25, 2013). "Tim McGraw (Feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban), 'Highway Don't Care' – Song Review". Taste of Country. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  10. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (May 7, 2013). "Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift & Keith Urban Want You Home Safe in "Highway Don't Care" Video". Fuse.tv. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  11. ^ Dukes, Billy. "It's Official: We've Picked the 50 Best Country Songs of the 2010s". Taste of Country. Retrieved 2019-12-16.
  12. ^ "American Country Awards: See the winners here!". CNN. December 11, 2013. Archived from the original on June 22, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  13. ^ "CMA World – International Awards – CMA World". Country Music Association Awards. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  14. ^ "Taylor to be presented with CMA's Pinnacle Award!". Taylor Swift. Archived from the original on January 9, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  15. ^ "2014 ACM Awards: Nominees & Winners". Nash Country Weekly. April 6, 2014. Archived from the original on June 22, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  16. ^ "Vince Gill Recognized as BMI Icon at the 2014 BMI Country Awards". Broadcast Music, Inc. November 4, 2014. Archived from the original on January 8, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  17. ^ "Miranda Lambert Leads 2014 CMT Music Awards Nominations". Nash Country Weekly. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  18. ^ Blake, Emily (March 26, 2014). "Rihanna, Justin Timberlake Lead iHeartRadio Nominees: See The Full List". MTV. Archived from the original on June 22, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  19. ^ "Grammys 2014: The complete list of nominees and winners". Los Angeles Times. January 26, 2014. Archived from the original on March 4, 2015. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  20. ^ "Morgan Evans Is Fans' Choice in CMC Country Music Awards". Daily Mercury. News Corp Australia. 15 March 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  21. ^ Morris, Edward (February 16, 2013). "Tim McGraw's Two Lanes of Freedom Is Week's No. 1 Country Album". Country Music Television. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  22. ^ Bjorke, Matt (February 13, 2013). "Country Chart News – The Top 30 Digital Singles: The Week of February 13, 2012: Tim McGraw & Taylor Swift #1; Lady Antebellum #2". Roughstock. Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  23. ^ "RIAA Certifications - Keith Urban". Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  24. ^ Trust, Gary (November 26, 2017). "Ask Billboard: Taylor Swift's Career Album & Song Sales". Retrieved November 26, 2017.
  25. ^ "CMT : Videos : Tim McGraw : Highway Don't Care". Country Music Television. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
  26. ^ Wetzel, Jennifer. "Vanderbilt, country superstar Tim McGraw share important message regarding dangers of distracted driving". Vanderbilt University.
  27. ^ "The ARIA Charts" (PDF). Pandora.nla.gov.au. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  28. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard.
  30. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  31. ^ "Tim McGraw Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard.
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  33. ^ "Best of 2013: Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  34. ^ "Best of 2013: Hot 100 Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
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  36. ^ "Best of 2013: Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  37. ^ "American single certifications – Tim McGraw – Highway Don%27t Care". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved May 9, 2020. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.