Car sickness is unlikely to affect the driver of a car, but as a passenger even the bravest, burliest body builder can experience it. ‘How to stop car sickness?’ is a question we’ve all groaned at some point, especially during road trips. Before handing the bucket over yet again.
If you could take a magic pill (these do exist, but not everyone wants to take this route) and be done with car sickness wouldn’t that be great. Or better still, prevent it in the first place?
In this article we’ll cover some neat tricks to stop and even prevent car sickness. And we’ll explain why it happens at all, and why you might be the person who feels it. Read on for the inside story…
What causes car sickness?
Motion sickness is caused by a sensory overload. Modern humans have taken roughly 300,000 years to evolve to what we are now, yet the modern car was invented just the other day, in 1886. So, while we travel by car, air, tram, or train, our ancestors simply walked and ran.
You can see why our senses can’t always make sense of the speed we move at nowadays. Our eyes, ears, and whole body create multiple signals which transmit information to our brain that’s not always easy to process in the given timeframe. And then we simply get car sickness. Ick.
Knowing what causes car sickness is a great first step to conquering it. Another helpful tip is knowing if you’re more prone to getting car sick.
Why do some people get car sick?
Because car sickness results from information overload, consider that some people already have a bunch of body stuff they’re dealing with. For instance, we may not always give them enough credit, but children are putting a heck of a lot of energy into developing their sensory systems and growing up (way too quickly!).
Teens and tweens are having complete hormone overhauls. Just as when it’s ‘that time of month’, you’re pregnant or you reach menopause it’s another seismic shift.
So too if you’re living with or have acquired a serious illness or injury. Even feeling mildly under the weather before heading on a car trip can also take a toll.
Just add motion to any of the above and levels of OK-ness can tip into not-OK-ness, resulting in car sickness.
Symptoms of car sickness
If you’ve ever been car sick, you probably have no doubt about what it was, without having to consult a symptoms list. Because face it, car sickness sucks big time.
But in the interest of sharing valuable info with everyone, here’s the symptoms list:
- Cold sweats
- Inability to concentrate
- Gulping air or hyperventilating
- Increased saliva
Besides the awfulness of these feelings, vomiting can also lead to dehydration. If you find yourself in a situation like this, keep sipping water.
Car sickness dos and don’ts
Helping a passenger who’s feeling car sick can be stressful, especially as the driver. Being a carsick passenger can be just as stressful if not worse. But not to worry, we’ve got you kitted up with the dos and don’ts of car sick:
- If you have your licence (and you’re not an unlisted driver) ask the driver if you can take the wheel. Driving can help prevent feeling car sick.
- Open the windows to breathe fresh air and focus on breathing your out-breath slowly, for as long as you can until the breath is fully out and you can feel the muscles at the bottom of your belly
- Lie back and/or close your eyes (works for some, not others), or look straight ahead rather than down, up, left or right
- Wear acupressure bands on your wrists
- Take regular stop-offs during holiday road trips
- Sit in the front passenger seat, rather than the back seat where the motion sickness is worse
- Bring a sick bag or bucket with lid
And, of course, there’s good ol’ car sickness tablets. They’re available for both kids and adults and usually need to be taken at least 30 minutes before the drive. Be aware that some can cause drowsiness and in some people they can cause crankiness (so we hear ????).
- Drink alcohol, smoke or eat greasy or too-sugary food before the drive
- Ditto with any food or drink you may have a slight intolerance to (e.g. dairy)
- Look at fast moving objects outside, like other traffic whizzing by
- Read books
- Use tablets/laptops/phones or any other devices
For some, the memory of past car sickness can bring on renewed bouts of it. If none of the above dos and don’ts does the trick, try speaking to your doctor or pharmacist for something else to help.
Good comprehensive car insurance
Another aspect of a good road trip is knowing you’re financially protected with comprehensive car insurance. In case of an accident, with a good insurance provider your car can be towed and fixed, or even replaced to the value on your policy. Another bonus of going with PD Insurance is you can add roadside assistance at a nominal fee to your policy.
How to stop car sickness – over to you
Have you found any sharable car sickness remedies? Do tell! Let us know in the comments below.