Ford investigates causes of car sickness
Car sickness can be the bane of many a road trip. In an attempt to find a way to combat the problem, scientists at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Germany recently teamed up with motion sickness experts in Norway to study the causes of car sickness, and to find possible ways of preventing it.
Some of what the researchers found may not be entirely surprising, like how quick stop-starts, winding roads and where you sit can exacerbate the situation. But the study additionally found some interesting things. For instance, goldfish can also get queasy in a car, but babies don't until they become toddlers and start walking.
The study discovered that two-thirds of the population will at some point experience car sickness, and it's most prevalent if you're a passenger, especially if you're a child or teenager. Sitting in the back seat and watching some type of a video game or movie (what children and teenagers like to do) with your head down for more than 10 minutes makes it worse.
Researchers found that if video screens were mounted higher and passengers could see more of the road ahead on either side, they were less likely to get sick. That may be a consideration as Ford thinks about where to place video screens that are currently embedded in the back of headrests or mounted from the ceiling.
Short of waiting for that to happen, here are some recommendations that the researchers suggested to help passengers forego the effects of car sickness ... If you can't sit in the front seat, move to the middle of the back seat. Drink cola, eat ginger biscuits, support your head with a pillow, and keep fresh air flowing in the vehicle.
Then again there's this advice for drivers from Prof. Jelte Bos, who was involved in the study. "For many drivers who think their child has a problem with car sickness, it might simply be that their child has a problem with their driving," he says. "Adopting a smoother driving style goes a long way towards reducing feelings of nausea – and it reduces fuel costs too."