01 January 2008 ~ 0 Comments

How to: Avoid Car Sickness

If you get car sick, you probably anticipate every extended road trip with dread. Car sickness is just one kind of motion sickness (or kinetosis) that some unlucky people experience when they’re riding in a car or any other type of automobile. Dizziness, fatigue and nausea might make the trip miserable, and even vomiting doesn’t make the affected person feel any better. So how do you go about preventing car sickness in the first place? Here are some ways to enjoy the ride, sickness-free.


  1. Understand why car sickness happens. All motion sickness results from your body sensing a discrepancy between what you see (in this case, the inside of a car, which tells your brain that you’re sitting still) and what you feel (your body’s vestibular system, which senses balance from your inner ear, tells your brain that you’re moving). The conflict between what you see and what you feel triggers the production of a neurotransmitter, likely mistaken by your body as a signal of hallucinogenic poisoning, so your body tries to rid itself of whatever is causing the disorienting condition.
  2. Look out the front window. Watching the passing scenery can confirm your balance system’s detection of motion and help resolve the mismatch that causes car sickness. Focus on a non-moving object in the distance, such as the horizon. Don’t do anything that involves focusing on a fixed spot, such as reading or playing a card game. Don’t turn around or look from side to side much.
  3. Sit in the front. Consider driving (if possible). Drivers rarely get car sickness as they are always focused on the road. Sitting in the passenger’s seat up front is the next best thing. Not only will you have more window space to look through, but in some cars, the ride tends to be less bumpy in the front. If driving is not possible or desirable, visualize driving or pretend you are driving. This can often prevent or alleviate nausea.
  4. Close your eyes. Sleep if you can. If your eyes are closed, you don’t see anything, and that removes the cause of motion sickness. In addition, sleeping can take your mind off of your car sickness.

  5. Open the window. Many people find that smelling fresh, cool air helps make them feel better, although the reason behind this isn’t clear. If it is not possible to open the window, lean towards the bottom of the window and breathe. There should be leaks of air. Some people find that certain smells can make them feel worse (such as car air fresheners, perfumes, smoke and food). Remove the source of the smell if possible or keep fresh air coming in. If neither is possible, spray a soothing smell like lavender or mint to cover up the other smells. See Tips below.
  6. Take breaks. Go outside to stretch your legs. Take some deep breaths in through your mouth, and breathe deeply from your stomach to help relax. This is especially important during journeys that involve a long distance of curvy roads. Not only do these tend to make car sickness worse, but it is also good for the driver to take a break.
  7. Take steps to prevent nausea. Since nausea is the most debilitating symptom of car sickness, it’s always good to take precautionary measures. Ginger root is a classic remedy because of its widely recognized antiemetic (nausea-preventing) effects. Keep in mind, however, that many medications which are normally effective against nausea might not work against nausea caused by motion sickness.
    • Eat a few ginger biscuits (cookies) before you go, during the journey, and after you arrive.
    • Other good things to try eating are ginger candies (chewable), ginger coated in sugar (if you don’t mind the heat of ginger) or ginger mints.
    • If you are traveling a long distance, you could also consider taking ginger tea in a thermos. Peppermint tea is another good alternative. Cold drinks could include ginger ale or ginger beer (soda).
    • You can also take over-the-counter ginger root caplets that will supply a concentrated dosage of ginger (1 to 2 caplets will work well for most adults.) They are commonly available at health food stores and larger grocery stores.
  8. Fresh mint is an instant cure for nausea. It also works for nausea caused by altitude sickness, chemotherapy, heat exhaustion. Buy it in the produce section of the supermarket. People also take fresh mint on cruises and it doesn’t have the drowsiness side-effect of over-the-counter nausea medicine. Start by eating 2 leaves and feel free to eat more if you need it.
    • Keep a peppermint candy (or just about any long lasting hard candy) in your mouth. This method will work very well even after feelings of nausea have begun. Do not chew the candy because feelings of nausea may return fairly quickly after the candy is gone. This method also helps alleviate symptoms of mild nausea (even with the flu and migraines). For those whose nausea is worsened by the smell or taste of peppermint, lemon drops may prove helpful.
  9. Practice acupressure. If you feel that you might be getting car sick, apply gentle pressure between the two tendons about 3cm (about an inch) or so back from the wrist joint. You can also purchase a wrist band that will do this for you. This should temporarily delay or alleviate nausea until you can take a break from the trip.
  10. Use medication that prevents car sickness. There are over-the-counter and prescription drugs that are effective against car sickness. Most of them contain dimenhydrinate, meclizine or scopolamine. Some popular brands are Dramamine and Bonine/Antivert. Look into the side effects before using any of these drugs (especially if you’re driving), and ask your doctor just in case.
  11. Do not eat too much or drink too much.


  • Get a good night’s sleep before stepping into the car.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal or consume alcohol right before you take off on your trip.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Don’t talk about motion sickness, or even look at someone else who’s experiencing it.
  • Help prevent car sickness in children by giving them a raised seat where they have a clear view of the outdoors, and play games that encourage them to look outwards.
  • If you find map-reading makes you sick, ask the driver to pull over to check a map.
  • Some people suggest freshly sliced ginger in a bottle of water to sip helps them alleviate motion sickness.
  • Some people swear the smell of newspaper makes them feel better. Since reading the paper will probably make you sick, just have some newspaper in the car with you because all you really need is the smell. If you don’t always have a newspaper handy, many art supply stores sell pads of newsprint (which smells the same) that you may put in the car.
  • Take 50-75 mg of vitamin B6, sense the day before, or at least 60 minutes before boarding the vehicle. Take it every day while the trip lasts. No harm in it, excess of B6 will go out by the urine. (The only problem could be if you are allergic to B6.)
  • Some people can be upset in a car by eating chocolate in the morning.
  • If you have a child who gets carsick, don’t let them watch movies in the car. It can trigger carsickness.
  • Another great idea is if the backseat is empty, have the sick person lie down (with the seatbelt on of course) and have them look up.

Taken from: http://www.wikihow.com/Avoid-Car-Sickness