car sickness

You're driving down the highway when you start to feel nauseous. You know that feeling all too well, it's car sickness! The symptoms can range in severity but they are always unpleasant. However, you may not be aware of some facts about getting car sick. Read on to find out five things you didn't know about getting car sick and how they might affect your next drive!

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Road Trips Are No Fun If You're Car Sick!

Getting car sick is an all-around awful experience, and so is motion sickness in general. Sometimes even referred to as “seasickness,” this phenomenon occurs when your inner ear is disturbed from repeated motions.

While more common in children and pregnant women, car sickness can happen to anyone, even to people who never experienced it well into adulthood.

Optimizing your environment and preparing in advance are crucial to preventing motion sickness on a road trip. Firstly, choose a seat where motion sensation is minimized; the front seat or driving the vehicle yourself can help align your visual sense with the actual motion. Keep your focus on distant objects outside the car, such as the horizon, rather than on books, maps, or screens, which can worsen symptoms. Fresh air is key, so crack open a window or adjust air conditioning to ensure good ventilation.

Avoiding large meals, spicy or fatty foods, and heavy odors that can provoke nausea is also beneficial. If you're prone to motion sickness, consider taking over-the-counter remedies like meclizine or dimenhydrinate before starting the trip. For some, acupressure wristbands also offer a non-medical option to help manage symptoms.

By combining these strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk of motion sickness and make your road trip a more pleasant experience.

What are the Common Symptoms of Motion Sickness?

The common symptoms of motion sickness include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating

If you’re driving the car while you’re experiencing motion sickness, pull over and try to find your center of gravity. You won’t be able to keep your full attention on the road if you feel like you’re about to throw up. Passengers may not need to ask the driver to stop the vehicle. Instead, they could try to lessen the severity of their motion sickness by using the tips in our article.

Avoiding Car Sickness: What You Can Do To Help

At the end of the day, there are some guys who are simply more likely to be affected by even the slighted vibration or sensory distortion caused by the movement of the car. However, even the most stalwart amount us will tend to have a few symptoms if the circumstances align right. My advice to you, in that case, is to simply focus on being aware of your limitations before the symptoms start and know what triggers the dizziness or nausea before you feel like asking the driver to pull over for a few moments so you can recover.

Common CausesWhat You Can Do to Avoid Getting Sick
1. Reading or using a smartphone Focus on the horizon or distant objects outside the car instead.
2. Sitting in the backseat Try to sit in the front seat or drive to better align your visual cues with motion.
3. Poor ventilation in the vehicle Keep windows slightly open or set the air conditioner to ensure a flow of fresh air.
4. Looking at moving objects inside the car Limit time spent looking at objects moving inside the car, like other passengers or pets.
5. Irregular or sudden movements Drive smoothly, avoid sudden stops or sharp turns, and use routes with less traffic when possible.

Implementing these strategies can help reduce the likelihood of experiencing car sickness, making your journeys more comfortable - for you ... and the driver too!

Facts You Might Not Know About Getting Car Sick

Most of us have experienced car sickness at some point, but that doesn't make the experience any less awful. However, there are some interesting facts about motion sickness as it pertains to cars and road trips that I personally find pretty interesting.

Driving on the Opposite Side of the Road Can Cause Motion Sickness

Driving on the opposite side of the road can be disorienting and may contribute to motion sickness, especially for those not accustomed to it. This unfamiliarity disrupts the usual alignment between the visual cues your eyes receive and the motion your body senses, exacerbating feelings of dizziness and nausea. The constant need to adjust perception and spatial awareness when navigating unfamiliar traffic patterns and road layouts can intensify this disorientation.

This mental strain, coupled with the physical demands of reacting to different driving conditions, can overload the senses, leading to motion sickness. To mitigate these effects, drivers and passengers can focus on stable, distant points on the horizon to maintain spatial orientation, ensure good ventilation inside the vehicle, and take frequent breaks to help the body and brain adjust to the new driving environment.

Kids Get Car Sick Easier Than Adults

Approximately one-third of people are highly susceptible to motion sickness, with children between the ages of 6 and 12 being particularly prone. Younger children's inner ear structures are still developing, which may contribute to this heightened susceptibility. Ironically, infants tend not to get car sick as easily as older children.

Women Tend To Get Motion Sickness Worse Than Men

This is because women have a higher percentage of the hormone prolactin in their bodies. Prolactin affects fluid balance, blood pressure and motion sickness susceptibility.

You Can Fight Motion Sickness With Ginger And Peppermint

Anti-motion sickness pills and other drugs aren't the only answer. Drinking ginger tea or peppermint water can soothe your stomach while you are on the road by increasing saliva production which will help with nausea symptoms. You can also chew some fresh ginger root to get the same effect!

Passengers Get Car Sick More Easily

Even though you aren't behind the wheel, if someone else is driving and taking sharp turns or hitting bumps it can still affect your inner ears. This means that even as a passenger in the car you could be affected by motion sickness symptoms! While this might not be shocking to some, the fact that you aren't in control means that your brain is left guessing and anticipating what the next turn or bump in the road might mean. If you get car sick easily, taking a turn at the wheel might be a good solution even if just for a while.

Sitting In The Back Seat Can Lessen Motion Sickness Symptoms

The back seat has more room than the front seats, meaning less movement from bumps or sharp turns can affect it as much as those closer to the wheel. This also leaves plenty of space between you and whomever might be driving so if nausea sets in at least nobody is right next to you and sharing your body heat! If possible, sitting in the back seat can lessen motion sickness symptoms.

Above all else, try not to let your car sickness ruin your trip. Although it will be challenging to focus on the positives, know that car sickness is temporary, and you’ll feel better soon.