According to the RAC, one in five people experience symptoms of car sickness. If you’re one of those, there are some ways you can counter it — here’s our advice for keeping a queasy stomach at bay while on the road.

How to avoid car sickness:

  • Sit in the front
  • Look at a fixed point (passengers only!)
  • Take regular breaks
  • Fresh air and ventilation
  • Close your eyes and take deep breaths (passengers only!)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat small amounts of food frequently
  • Try flavoured hard sweets
  • Avoid smoking
  • Put your book or phone down
  • Distract yourself with some music
  • Seek medical assistance
How to avoid car sickness

Why sitting in the front helps car sickness

One way to avoid car sickness before even setting off can simply come down to picking the right seat. Minimising perceived motion can be super effective in countering symptoms, and there’s no better place to do that than in the front.

It’s believed sitting in the back of a car and staring at a stationary seat in front can trick your brain to think you’re not moving, but the sound coming to your ears will cause confusion — resulting in the feeling of sickness. Sitting in the middle seat if you must be in the back can help counter this, too.

Why looking at a fixed point helps motion sickness

Obviously not a tip for the drivers, but for passengers, keeping your eyes on a fixed point in the distance outside of the car can help counter the effects of motion sickness.

Looking at passing objects or cars travelling the other way will enhance the effects — so instead, look to fix your eyes on one constant thing. Prominent scenery or the horizon line are usually good go-to options.

Why taking regular breaks helps

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a break, no matter how hard you try to avoid motion sickness, the best cure is ultimately to be stationary. On longer journeys, taking frequent breaks can minimise the chances of symptoms worsening — and also gives you a chance to take in some fresh air. Use this chance to grab a drink or a light bite to eat, too.

Why fresh air and good ventilation helps with motion sickness

Just like any kind of sickness, breathing fresh air will do wonders to help. Open a window to let it circulate around the car, and have the air conditioning on to keep the cabin well-ventilated and well-cooled.

Why closing your eyes and taking deep breaths helps car sickness

Sometimes, it’s easier to just pretend you’re not travelling. Closing your eyes can shut off the visual cues of motion that can freak your brain out, while focusing on your breathing will distract your mind from everything else.

Why staying hydrated helps if you feel sick

Sipping cold water, or even a carbonated drink, will help keep you hydrated and reduce the feeling of nausea whilst you’re moving. Avoid caffeinated beverages, like coffee, tea and fizzy drinks containing caffeine, as these can decrease hydration and make you feel worse.

Why eating small amounts of food frequently can help with sickness in a car

If you’re prone to car sickness, eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol before getting into the passenger’s seat, or even while sitting there, could heighten your discomfort. Eat and drink well in advance of your journey, and pack light snacks for the trip if you’re in need of something to eat.

You want to avoid any foods that are heavy or greasy as well as anything too acidic, because they’re slow to digest, they can make you feel worse.Some great options to nibble on frequently without heightening your motion sickness are cereals, apples, bananas, bread or other grains.

Why hard sweets can help if you feel motion sick

Hard sweets last a while and as well as distracting you from feeling sick, they’ll give your digestive system something to do plus a much needed energy boost. The best options are those that contain ginger or chamomile, as these are known to reduce the feeling of nausea on their own.

Why you shouldn’t smoke if you suffer with motion sickness in the car

If you can, taking a smoking break while travelling has been proven to reduce the effects of motion sickness.

Why you should put the book or phone down if you feel car sick

While distracting yourself can help with motion sickness, some ‘distractions’ will only serve to make it worse. Fixing on a static object in the car can mess with your senses, so avoid reading or colouring a book or using your phone for extended periods of time in the car.

Why distracting yourself with some music can help with motion sickness

Listening to music, chatting to other people in the car or playing a game like ‘spot the yellow Mini’ could help focus your attention away from how ill you feel.

When to seek medical assistance

No matter how hard some try, car sickness just won’t go away. In this case, it’s worth speaking to your doctor or a pharmacist, who may prescribe you with appropriate medication to ease the symptoms.



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