Ever wondered how the music you're listening to in the car is affecting your driving? An arts therapy specialist has said that drivers who spend a lot of time behind the wheel should consider listening – and even singing along – to songs which put them in a better state of mind.

“Scientists have undertaken research showing that singing significantly improves psychological health and wellbeing as it engages the neurochemical systems responsible for reward, motivation, pleasure and stress," said Daniel Thomas, the managing director of Chroma – the firm behind the research.

“Singing along while driving will stimulate senses, get your diaphragm working and push oxygen to your brain. By increasing the level of oxygen, you’ll bring about chemical processes that affect you physiologically, bringing about a sense of relaxation."

He adds that fleet managers should encourage company car drivers to have favourite playlists on hand to give their mood a boost and help them relax when stuck in traffic or covering a long journey. Singing along is not always the answer, though – sometimes it's better so simply to listen to music to aid concentration. 

“If you’ve been behind the wheel of a company car or van for a long time, you’ll probably get more benefit from listening to reflective instrumentals," Thomas says.

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"There are academic studies to support the idea that background music increases attention levels, extends focus, improves memory and allows for deeper thinking in the classroom. These are the same skills needed when driving long distances to keep the brain stimulated and aware.

“However, it’s not as easy as streaming an ambient sounds album. You do need something with variety and interest. Some music can be so repetitive that it becomes annoying and has a negative effect which, again, is something that may be of interest to fleet managers.”

The firm says songs such as Toploader's Dancing in the Moonlight and Fast Car by Tracy Chapman are ideal for singing along to during long journeys, while Adagio for Tron by Daft Punk and Groove Armada's Fly Me to the Moon will help drivers relax and concentrate.

Top songs for singing along to in the car:

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
Give it Up – KC and the Sunshine Band
Gold Digger – Kanye West
Dancing in the Moonlight - Toploader
Stuck With You – Huey Lewis and the News

Top songs for relaxing to in the car:

Memory Gospel – Moby
Adagio for Tron – Daft Punk
Fly Me to the Moon – Groove Armada
Tom’s Diner – Suzanne Vega
Emerald and Stone – Brian Eno