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Long Drives: Dealing with Carsickness


Throughout my life, I have gone on many cross-country drives with myself as a passenger and very rarely as a driver. Being the driver is relatively easy aside from having to combat exhaustion, but riding from California to Michigan or to Colorado or to Oregon repeatedly (at least three times each, in my case) makes one learn to deal with carsickness.

There is no one cure for carsickness aside from “don’t drive,” which is not always an option. Here is a list of some things to try, and some are good practice, anyway, to deal with fatigue.

  • Take frequent breaks – There are many towns and rest areas along the side of all highways. Use them. Stretch your legs! Use the restroom! Have a picnic lunch! Take the time to stop feeling like you’re in the car and touch the ground.
  • Eat lemon drops – I like the lemon drop hard candy because it isn’t too sour, but biting into a slice of lemon works just as well and is less expensive. One problem with carsickness is nausea, which is worsened with the taste of bile or bad breath in the mouth. Lemon banishes that taste as does a variety of gum and breath fresheners.
  • Don’t read – Reading helps with the special disorientation that can cause carsickness. That goes for texting and playing on your phone as well.
  • Sit in the front seat – If you can. Looking forward 1) relieves the stress of not seeing where you’re going and, 2) doesn’t bother your stomach as much as seeing things close to you passing by way too fast. If you can’t sit in the front seat, try to position yourself in such a way that you can look out the front.
  • Take curves slowly – most of my carsickness happens on switchbacks where I feel more of a side-to-side motion than a forward-and-back rocking motion. We are designed for forward and back. Taking curves slowly makes you feel less of the centrifugal force of the turn, and helps keep the stomach in place. Do you get sick on a boat? Try to sit so you rock forward and back!
  • Break up the drive – shorter days are more manageable and allow for a longer recovery time as well as allowing for some flexibility in the driving schedule. Do something fun if you can midday!

What other things do you do in the car to stave off boredom or to keep from being sick???


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