3 ways to avoid getting sick in the car

3 ways to avoid getting sick in the car
3 ways to avoid getting sick in the car

Motion sickness is a mild disorder, more commonly known as "motion sickness". It is a disturbance of the balance that manifests itself when moving in transport, but also during the practice of certain activities such as diving or a ride on the merry-go-round. The most common symptoms are dizziness, fatigue, cold sweats, pallor, nausea and vomiting. If you are prone to motion sickness, a simple drive can turn into a real journey.


Method 1 of 3: Adopt good travel habits

Avoid Car Sickness Step 1

Step 1. Sit in the front of the car

Motion sickness is caused by the influx of conflicting information reaching the brain when you move around involuntarily. Indeed, when you walk, your balance is constantly adjusted by a complex system involving in particular your sense of sight and the inner ear. When you are sitting in a car, your inner ear is stimulated by the movements of the vehicle. However, your eyes only see the front seat, which creates a sensory conflict. One of the solutions to prevent motion sickness is therefore to send coherent information to the brain. To do this, sit in the front of the car or in the middle of the back seat. By having a wider panorama of the road, you will be able to anticipate the movements of the vehicle and reduce the symptoms of motion sickness.

Driving is a great way to fight motion sickness in the car. Indeed, it keeps your senses alert and forces you to anticipate the vagaries of the road in order to make the right decisions such as slowing down, accelerating or moving away. As a result, you are focused on driving your vehicle and your brain coordinates information better

Avoid Car Sickness Step 2

Step 2. Focus on the horizon

Concentration is a factor in preventing motion sickness. Get into the car and gaze into the distance, straight ahead. Concentrate on a fixed point such as a feature in the landscape, a building or a tree. Keep your eyes on him and avoid turning your head.

Even when you are driving, you should focus your gaze as far as possible. This also makes it possible to better anticipate driving maneuvers. Obviously, you also need to pay attention to other vehicles, signs and road conditions

Avoid Car Sickness Step 3

Step 3. Maintain a suitable temperature in the passenger compartment

Too high or too low a temperature can worsen symptoms of motion sickness such as nausea, dizziness, or migraines. To dissipate them, ventilate your vehicle by lowering the windows to create a draft. You can also turn on the fan or air conditioning and direct the cool air towards you.

Strong odors can also increase the symptoms of motion sickness: food, tobacco, seat covers, industrial deodorants, etc. Eliminate this environmental factor by cleaning and airing your vehicle before setting off

Avoid Car Sickness Step 4

Step 4. Stabilize your head

When driving aggressively or on a rough road, it may be difficult to fix the horizon. However, it is important to keep your head as still as possible in order to limit stimulation to the inner ear. Place a pillow behind your head or prop your neck against a neck pillow.

Avoid Car Sickness Step 5

Step 5. Take regular breaks

On long journeys, stops are as important to the driver as they are to the passengers. Slowly get out of the car and take a few steps to stretch your legs. Walking and regaining control of your movements calms nausea and dizziness. Relax by breathing calmly and deeply. If possible, take your break in a calming area such as a park or natural landscape. Get back on the road once the symptoms have subsided.

Avoid Car Sickness Step 6

Step 6. Try to take a nap

Sleeping helps calm sensory confusion, because the outside information transmitted to the brain is limited. This option is also considered one of the most effective against motion sickness.

If you have trouble falling asleep, relax by breathing calmly and listening to soothing music. In this case, provide a helmet so as not to hamper the driver. If you are not driving, you can also take medication to promote sleep. Note that some antihistamines, often recommended for motion sickness, have powerful drowsiness effects

Avoid Car Sickness Step 7

Step 7. Don't focus on feeling unwell

Seek to distract yourself with music, singing, or just chatting with other passengers or playing question-and-answer games. Distractions often reduce the feeling of unease, especially in children or those traveling in the back of the vehicle.

Avoid Car Sickness Step 8

Step 8. Limit visual activity

Motion sickness is made worse when you focus on an object close to you. Your brain interprets it as a sign of passive activity, which apparently contradicts the sensations of displacement. Reading or staring at a screen (tablet, phone) can therefore increase nausea and dizziness. To prevent these symptoms, you should therefore look as far out of the car as possible.

  • Note that some people only notice the signs of motion sickness when they are reading.
  • An adequate sound environment can limit your symptoms and distract you from them. Turn on your radio or listen to your favorite playlist. Be sure to moderate the volume.
Avoid Car Sickness Step 9

Step 9. Breathe deeply

Anxiety, stress and nervousness are conditions that promote and increase the symptoms of motion sickness. Relax by practicing breathing exercises. By focusing on your breathing, you reduce the importance of motion sickness and calm your mind.

Avoid Car Sickness Step 10

Step 10. Plan your trip by favoring flat and straight roads

Avoid hilly, rough, or winding roads. Preferably take the motorways rather than the small national or departmental roads. If possible, bypass cities, because urban roads require many driving maneuvers: acceleration, slowing down, stopping… Also check the condition of your car's suspensions. The harder a suspension, the more it absorbs shocks and limits the appearance of disorders.

Avoid traffic jams, as the reciprocating starting and stopping motion promotes nausea, dizziness and vomiting

Avoid Car Sickness Step 11

Step 11. Use acupressure

This traditional medicine technique is based on stimulating the flow of body energy by pressure on certain points. To control nausea, the pressure point, called point P6, is located at the wrist. The acupressure bracelet, inspired by this technique, includes a small ball that exerts mechanical pressure on point P6. While the effectiveness of this bracelet has not been scientifically proven, many people agree that wearing it relieves them. In addition, this solution has no side effects and is not expensive.

If you don't want to invest in a bracelet, you can apply pressure to the energy point yourself. Locate point P6 by aligning the right index, middle and ring fingers horizontally with the left wrist, just below the palm of the hand. The point is located at the level of the index finger, between the two tendons. Apply pressure with your fingertip for a few seconds. Do the same on the right wrist

Avoid Car Sickness Step 12

Step 12. Consider other means of transportation

Motion sickness can start regardless of the type of transport, or only occur in the car. Plane, train and bus may then be more attractive travel options. Indeed, the comfort is generally better there than in a car. In addition, the movements of the device or the vehicle are less felt.

  • Choose the most stable seats. In aircraft, they are located in the middle of the aircraft and at the level of the wings. When traveling by bus or train, sit in the front of the vehicle and in the direction of travel.
  • For short journeys, prefer walking or take your bike. In addition, these solutions are better for your general health.

Method 2 of 3: Eat Right

Avoid Car Sickness Step 13

Step 1. Eat a light meal and do not drink alcohol

Nausea is one of the most unpleasant symptoms of motion sickness. Prevent it by avoiding dishes that are too high in fat. Before you go, have a simple, light meal. Alcohol affects the nervous system as well as the functioning of the inner ear. It only exacerbates motion sickness disorders such as nausea, dizziness, sweating, and migraine. It is therefore important to avoid any alcoholic drink before and during the trip.

Avoid Car Sickness Step 14

Step 2. Eat regular snacks

Too large a meal makes nausea worse. Before departure, prepare nutritious and healthy snacks. Prefer foods rich in protein and low in fat. Eat small amounts of food at regular intervals. This is because an empty stomach is more vulnerable to acidity, which can lead to painful reflux.

For example, avoid fast food restaurant menus that consist of a burger and fries. Milk-based drinks are also not recommended. Instead, take a plain yogurt, a salad with grilled chicken and a banana

Avoid Car Sickness Step 15

Step 3. Plan for dry foods that are not very spicy

Food that is too fatty, sweet or spicy can irritate the stomach. Favor dry starchy foods such as rusks, slices of toast, salted dry biscuits … Fruits and vegetables such as bananas, carrots or cucumbers calm heartburn. In general, prefer solid foods to fill you up without weighing down your stomach.

Strong smells can cause nausea. To avoid them, plan on dry foods: salad without sauce, light sandwich, toast …

Avoid Car Sickness Step 16

Step 4. Hydrate regularly

Contrary to popular belief, drinking alleviates the symptoms of motion sickness. It is therefore important to provide sufficient water. You can also prepare flavored or carbonated drinks. However, avoid sodas and industrial fruit juices, as their acidity can irritate your stomach. In case of vomiting, consider drinking to avoid dehydration.

According to the work of Dr. Stern, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, protein drinks have a stronger effect against nausea than drinks rich in carbohydrates

Avoid Car Sickness Step 17

Step 5. Consume ginger

This plant has effects recognized to fight against nausea and facilitate digestion. Ginger can be consumed in various forms: herbal tea, soft drink, lozenge, lollipop, candy or cookie. Also take a few pieces of candied ginger. On the other hand, check that the products you buy actually contain ginger. Many foods and drinks are simply flavored and have no effect.

Be aware that ginger can interact with certain drug treatments because it has anticoagulant properties. If you are taking specific treatment or have a blood disorder such as diabetes, ask your doctor for advice

Avoid Car Sickness Step 18

Step 6. Provide chewing gum and mint lozenges

Peppermint is a natural remedy for nausea because it aids digestion and has soothing properties. Soak a handkerchief with a few drops of peppermint essential oil and inhale it for about ten seconds. You can also eat a drop on a piece of bread. Take chewing gum. Chewing stimulates the production of saliva, which neutralizes stomach acidity. Plus, chewing helps distract from the symptoms of motion sickness.

Method 3 of 3: Use drug treatments

Avoid Car Sickness Step 19

Step 1. Tell your doctor about your condition

Most cases can be resolved with a simple change in travel habits. However, motion sickness can be more serious and become a real handicap on a daily basis. Talk to your doctor because drugs can help.

  • Motion sickness can sometimes be related to your age, gender, origin, migraines, hormonal factors, or a sensory problem. Your doctor can tell you if you are at risk for motion sickness.
  • If symptoms persist for several hours after travel, you should inform your doctor. Indeed, a migraine or a confusion of the senses may be a sign of an underlying condition more serious than simple motion sickness.
Avoid Car Sickness Step 20

Step 2. Take antihistamines

Their active ingredient is usually dimenhydrinate or meclozine. These substances are antiemetics which work against vomiting and nausea. To optimize the effects of antihistamines, it is advisable to take them between half an hour and an hour before departure. These medications are available without a prescription and usually come in tablet form. Antihistamines are available as local treatment (cream, eye drops, nasal solution, injection), but are therefore more suitable for treating allergies.

Antihistamines have side effects that vary in severity among patients and substances. The main side effect is drowsiness. These drugs are therefore contraindicated if you plan to drive

Avoid Car Sickness Step 21

Step 3. Take scopolamine

This medicine is only available with a prescription and is not suitable for children. It comes in the form of a patch that must be positioned behind the ear six to twelve hours before departure. It is very effective against the symptoms of motion sickness and its effects can last up to three days. However, it has significant side effects such as visual disturbances or dry mouth. Only take it as a last resort and on the advice of your doctor.


  • To prevent motion sickness in a child, place them in a booster seat so that they have a wider view of the landscape. Distract his attention during the trip with games or adapted music. Avoid giving her a video game or tablet, as concentration on a screen makes symptoms worse.
  • Children aged 2 to 12, pregnant women and people with chronic migraines are populations more prone to motion sickness. However, it is generally only a temporary disturbance which dissipates as soon as the journey ends.
  • All forms of distraction are useful in the fight against motion sickness, provided they do not involve visual concentration. In other words, reading, playing on the screen (video game, phone application) and watching a film are not recommended activities.
  • Remember to ventilate the interior of the car. At the first signs of unhappiness, open the window and take a deep breath of fresh air.
  • Check the car's equipment, including the condition of the tires and suspensions. These elements are particularly important for good road holding and maximum shock absorption.
  • Take regular breaks. Get out of the car to relax and stretch your legs. Also, if you are particularly ill, taking a break will help relieve symptoms.
  • If you travel by car regularly, plan for everything you need to ward off any manifestation of motion sickness: paper bag, water bottle, handkerchiefs, etc.
  • Chew gum. Prefer gums without sugar and flavored with mint. Throw away the gum as soon as it stops tasting, as symptoms may get worse.
  • Homeopathy is also a solution that you can resort to. Consult your pharmacist.


  • It has often been advised to travel on an empty stomach to avoid vomiting. However, this solution only makes the problem worse, as your stomach fills with acid, causing pain and nausea.The best solution is to eat small portions of healthy, light food.
  • If you are not used to using aromatherapy or herbal medicine to treat yourself, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice. Likewise, inform yourself before taking antihistamines. This is because plants, essential oils and medications can interact with ongoing treatments or your condition.

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