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10 Steps To Avoid Car Sickness

Car sickness can really put a damper on your travel plans. Some of the common symptoms of this ailment include sweating, feeling dizzy and experiencing nausea. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize car sickness or prevent it, and here are 10 of them below.

1. Offer To Do The Driving

Some people say they don’t get as car sick if they’re the ones driving. The reason is that when they’re operating vehicles and paying attention to changing road conditions, these individuals have a lot more to focus on than just the way they’re feeling.

Put simply, offering to drive friends or family members to your destination may be enough to take your mind off feeling ill, and you will probably be seen in a favorable light by people who would rather be passengers than drivers.

2. Sit Up Front

Scientists think car sickness is caused when there is a difference between how your body reacts to the vehicle’s motion and what your eyes are seeing during the process. When you sit up front, it’s easier for your eyes to focus on how the road twists and turns. Then, the sensations your body feels and the things your eyes see have a better chance of matching up.

On the other hand, if you sit in the back seat and can’t see much more besides the seat in front of you, car sickness symptoms might become more severe.

3. Keep Your Eyes Fixed On A Distant Point

Rather than looking out the side windows or at the car immediately in front of you, focus on a point on the distant horizon. Whether it’s a tree, mountaintop or just a point in space you’ve yet to reach, pick one and fixate on it.

However, if you’ve followed the first step and offered to drive the vehicle, this step is not a good one to try because you’ll risk being unable to concentrate on the road as much as what’s needed for safety.

4. Keep Air Flowing

Cool, fresh air can be very helpful when it comes to reducing nausea and giving you a different, much more pleasant, sensation on which to focus. When possible, open windows on each side of the car at least a crack to get some cross ventilation. If the weather is making it impossible to drive with the windows open, do the next best thing and put the air conditioner on full blast.

Furthermore, be sure to carefully position the air vents so they’re benefiting you as much as possible. If you’re driving down a relatively straight road that seems unlikely to cause car sickness but are still feeling bad, food odors may be to blame. They can make car sickness worse by overwhelming your sense of smell, but luckily, food odors are usually less obvious in well-ventilated cabins.

5. Take A Nap

If you’re gearing up for a long road trip and wondering how you’ll ever cope with the car sickness you’re sure it will bring, plan to get some shut-eye for all or most of the journey. As explained above, car sickness can be made worse if the things your eyes see don’t match what your body is feeling.

By sleeping, or at least keeping your eyes closed, you’re at least removing one problematic factor. If you definitely won’t be doing any driving, a sleep aid may help you get the slumber you seek.

6. Practice Deep Breathing

If you are feeling nervous about the possibility of getting car sick, the mere anticipation may be a major factor in making it actually happen. Anxiety tends to make car sickness worse, but you can keep that bothersome feeling at bay by taking part in slow, controlled breathing exercises where the breath comes from deep in your diaphragm.

You may find it helpful to read some books or look at websites that explain certain breathing patterns to try. In a pinch, though, just breathing slowly and deeply should be enough to help you make progress.

7. Stick To The Highways When Possible

Speaking generally, car sickness is exacerbated when vehicles travel on curvy roads or stop and start frequently. If possible, plan ahead and do research to find ways you can stay on the highway as much as possible.

Compared to another option like a country road or city street, a major highway is more likely to be flat, smooth and kept in good repair. All of those factors could mean you’re not as likely to feel ill.

8. Don’t Get Distracted By Gadgets

Tablets, MP3 players and smartphones may all seem like good ways to take your mind off your symptoms, but they should only be used with caution. If you spend too much time focused on gadget screens, you may feel worse.

If you really need some sort of entertainment to keep from feeling bored, listen to an audiobook or choose one radio station to enjoy rather than flipping through stations or CD tracks.

9. Try Using A Motion Sickness Wristband

Specialty retailers often sell special wristbands that claim to alleviate the nausea caused by riding in cars or being out on the water. They apply pressure to a certain part of your forearm.

Although the results people experience vary greatly, these accessories are usually cheap to buy, and they aren’t painful. With those things in mind, you may feel it’s worth at least experimenting with one to see if it works for you.

10. Take Breaks Often

Become as in tune with your symptoms as possible and listen to what your body is saying. Initially, it may seem counter-intuitive to stop for breaks rather than trying to tolerate your discomfort by pushing through. However, if you avoid taking breaks and ignore when symptoms get worse, you might end up vomiting in the car or feeling so ill that you can’t enjoy your destination after arriving.

If you try all, or at least most, of these tips and find your symptoms are still unbearable, talk to your doctor and see if they could prescribe a pharmacological solution such as an anti-nausea aid.

Pin ItFurthermore, if you find you’re only car sick during certain journeys and not every time you get in the car, it’s smart to try to keep a diary (get a friend to help with the documentation if you’re too ill to do it yourself) that gives details about what was happening when you were at your sickest points. Once those troublesome factors are uncovered, it should theoretically be easier to avoid them.

No matter what, try not to feel too discouraged by the fact that you get sick in the car. This is a problem that people commonly experience, so you’re certainly not alone. Furthermore, as the list above demonstrates, there are several ways to manage the symptoms so they don’t ruin your transportation plans and even more that aren’t mentioned here.

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Katherine Hurst
By Shauna Walker
Personal trainer, fitness coach and wellness expert for over twenty years. Shauna is able to connect personally with her clients because I faced my own wellness challenges at a young age. She started her personal journey towards feeling fit and healthy twenty years ago, and has never looked back. Once struggling with her weight, she also had confidence issues and found it hard to stick with diet and exercise. Shauna managed to break free of this struggle, and now wants to give back and share the lessons she has learned.

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