What causes car sickness & how to stop it

Reading a map, looking down at a screen, or simply driving along a windy road can lead some people suffering serious bouts of nausea and vomiting.

Motion sickness affects around 30 percent of the population, with research showing children between two and 12 are the most susceptible.

Experts believe motion sickness is experienced when the central nervous system receives conflicting information from the inner ear, eyes and both the pressure and sensory receptors, found in our joints, muscles and spine.

Tips to avoid motion sickness:

  • Keep your eye on the horizon – try and sit in the front passenger seat or middle rear seat rather than looking out the side window at the landscape fly past
  • Opt to be the driver of the car – motion sickness is less likely to occur when movement is under a person’s control
  • Avoid alcohol for 24 hours before travelling and during the trip
  • Make sure you have plenty of fresh air. Fumes or smoke can exacerbate symptoms.

There are a few medications and remedies recommended for sufferers including:


Ginger can have anti-nausea properties. Ginger can be taken in tablets, as a tea, in crystallised form or in the raw before you travel and then taken at regular intervals during the trip.

Acupressure bands

Often used to keep sea sickness at bay, they work by applying continuous gentle pressure to an acupressure spot on the inside of the wrist.


Motion sickness drugs are mostly the over-the-counter variety. These drugs can both prevent and treat travel sickness and work by calming the stimulation of the inner ear. Be sure to check whether they make you drowsy.

Eat light

While eating a big meal before leaving home isn’t recommended, if you know you may fall victim to motion sickness, travelling on an empty stomach can have the same result. Instead eat a light meal of plain food at least 30 minutes before travelling.