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Motion sickness

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Wilts Wanderer

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I’ve always suffered from motion sickness in road vehicles to some extent or another. It seems to be related to the back of my head at the base of my skull. A severe jolt or sudden change in braking (normally the jerk of releasing the brake pedal) and that’s it, my body goes ‘nope’ and activates the queasiness. After that every jolt, turn and movement that causes my head to move in any way is accompanied by that horrible feeling of queasiness, and a general cold-clammy sensation.

I’m a non-driver incidentally, I know they say that you don’t get motion sick when you’re driving. I used to get it awful when I was younger, there were multiple ‘incidents’ on road trips and also school trips on a coach. On the contrary, I have never once been ill on a train, nor plane (although I do suffer from a fear of flying and general anxiety in the air.)

Without wanting to hear any particularly gross details, do other people relate to my experience and is there anything recommended particularly for car journeys? We had a short 20-min drive tonight and after a couple of roundabouts I was regretting leaving the house. Currently lying down for 30 mins now we’ve got back.
 
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AlterEgo

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I don't have a general problem with motion sickness, but once I spent half an hour in the back of an Uber in London which was changing speed and direction frequently. Having been engrossed in my phone for the duration, I felt really, really queasy when I got out and I was quite nauseous for an hour.

Have you tried actively looking out of the windows, especially at the horizon or the middle distance?
 

Wilts Wanderer

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I don't have a general problem with motion sickness, but once I spent half an hour in the back of an Uber in London which was changing speed and direction frequently. Having been engrossed in my phone for the duration, I felt really, really queasy when I got out and I was quite nauseous for an hour.

Have you tried actively looking out of the windows, especially at the horizon or the middle distance?

I was sat in the front passenger seat so all I was doing was looking out.
 

scotrail158713

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I find it’s bad for me if I’m on my phone, in any sort of road vehicle. (I could feel it coming on on a 10 minute bus journey the other day when I was checking stuff on Google Maps regarding my destination) I suppose a positive of this is that it forces me to look out at whatever I’m passing as I travel instead of being buried in my phone.

I’ve never had an issue on modes such as trains, planes or ferries though.
 

westv

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I find it’s bad for me if I’m on my phone, in any sort of road vehicle. (I could feel it coming on on a 10 minute bus journey the other day when I was checking stuff on Google Maps regarding my destination) I suppose a positive of this is that it forces me to look out at whatever I’m passing as I travel instead of being buried in my phone.

I’ve never had an issue on modes such as trains, planes or ferries though.
Same here. I can never read anything whilst in a road vehicle but I'm fine on a train.
 

stuart100100

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Over the counter travel sickness tablets might be an option. They massively help me on ferries (especially the catamaran to the Isle of Man which is never smooth).

My mum used to wear some kind of bands around her wrists which helped her. Not sure what they were though

Similar to the others I don't get motion sickness at all on trains, and on the road if I'm not driving I can't look at my phone for more than a few seconds I need to be looking out the window. I'm absolutely fine if I'm driving (not looking at my phone obviously )

The worst experience I've ever had was sitting in the backwards facing seats on a bus, never again :frown:
 

ComUtoR

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Go see a Doc. Firstly, I'm not sure your head should be moving around like that but if that was directly causing a problem then I'd get that checked out ASAP. A few of our Drivers had something similar and they have discovered some medical issues.

Secondly, you should have your ears checked. Motion sickness is often related to the inner ear and balance. Coupled with constant head movement this may be another indicator of an underlying issue.

A couple of quick tips :

Look out the window at the horizon rathet than other moving objects.
Travel pillow to help prevent too much head movement.
 

nlogax

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No issues here unless I'm looking down and intently reading something - then I'm taken back to how travel sickness used to feel in my childhood. Pretty grim tbh.
 

Wilts Wanderer

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Thank you for your replies, some really helpful pointers there. On the wristband point, my understanding is that it’s a (rather effective for some people) placebo effect, I think they are copper?

Go see a Doc. Firstly, I'm not sure your head should be moving around like that but if that was directly causing a problem then I'd get that checked out ASAP. A few of our Drivers had something similar and they have discovered some medical issues.

Secondly, you should have your ears checked. Motion sickness is often related to the inner ear and balance. Coupled with constant head movement this may be another indicator of an underlying issue.

A couple of quick tips :

Look out the window at the horizon rathet than other moving objects.
Travel pillow to help prevent too much head movement.

Interesting you mention ears, I’ve always had issues with blocked ears etc. My overall balance is probably slightly poorer than average - my lower body coordination is definitely poor, I’m not a football player by any stretch - so maybe there is something in that.
 

Strathclyder

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My mum used to wear some kind of bands around her wrists which helped her. Not sure what they were though
I used to wear wristbands that had little white 'nubs' in the middle for long car journeys, apparently they were to help with car sickness. No idea how they worked though, but they seemed to work fairly well in my experience.

I have always travelled fine on buses/coaches, trains, ferries etc (the odd splitting headache can result if extensive bus travel is done within a certain period, though it rarely lasts more than a day; hasn't happened for at least 5 years at the time of writing). Cars have always the outlier in this regard. Nausea, pounding headache etc, never had any real issues with loss of balance though. Used to be a real issue when I was younger, utterly dreaded long car journeys as a result. While not quite as severe/acute now, it can still rear it's ugly head on long trips in a car (mainly going to/coming from holiday destinations). Trains I have always travelled fine on, irrespective of ride/track quality.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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When the brake pedal is released? A good driver does that gently so one hardly notices. I used to drive with children sleeping on the back seat, learned to go smoothly so they would not wake up.

I used to drive a lot, not been a passenger in a car much for many years. Do not want to be, either.

Do you use buses, is that problematic too? Does your driver go fast and jerkily round roundabouts? Perhaps s/he should just slow down a bit.
 

Gloster

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When the brake pedal is released? A good driver does that gently so one hardly notices. I used to drive with children sleeping on the back seat, learned to go smoothly so they would not wake up.
My opinion is that driving styles have changed over the last decade or two: the habit of driving on the brakes seems to be much more widespread. There is too much brake-accelerate-speed around and this is not likely to help someone who is susceptible to sickness.
 

GusB

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When the brake pedal is released? A good driver does that gently so one hardly notices. I used to drive with children sleeping on the back seat, learned to go smoothly so they would not wake up.

I used to drive a lot, not been a passenger in a car much for many years. Do not want to be, either.

Do you use buses, is that problematic too? Does your driver go fast and jerkily round roundabouts? Perhaps s/he should just slow down a bit.
Not everyone is a good driver, and someone experiencing travel sickness as a passenger is not going to have any control over how the vehicle is being driven, are they? :rolleyes:
 

Gloster

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Not everyone is a good driver, and someone experiencing travel sickness as a passenger is not going to have any control over how the vehicle is being driven, are they? :rolleyes:
...or be quite so prepared for sudden changes in speed.
 

Irascible

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Rather than just looking in the middle distance, look at the horizon if you can. I've done a fair bit of sailing & it's still surprising how even people who sail constantly sometimes get seasick out of the blue. Trying to do chartwork below decks in a bit of a sea can be challenging.

I imagine I've got a hot drink in my lap when I'm driving, does wonders for smoothness...
 

route101

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I get motion sickness on boats, luckily I don't go on a boat often.

Only once I had motion sickness on a flight, the aircraft as going side to side.

The worst for me is coaches or small buses on country roads. Only really happens in South East Europe where they drive really fast. I fainted while travelling in an Albanian Furgon. I had thought we had crash after I woke up, as I was lying on the floor of the sprinter van.
 

Annetts key

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I suffer from motion sickness. I’m nowhere near as bad now as I was when I was younger.
It’s caused by the brain being unable to cope with the different signals from the inner ear (your sense of balance and rate of change of direction and speed) and the view of the world formed by the brain from your eyes.

Hence it helps if you are in the front of the vehicle and have a clear view of the view ahead. Some people find a dangling item hanging from the rear view mirror helps.

My feeling is, that a lack of sleep definitely makes me more susceptible.

Try to break the journey up into short sections, to give you time to recover in between. By this, I mean, stop before you start to feel sick.

The type of road, the type of suspension and the style of driving also have a big effect. This is part of the reason why it’s far more difficult to cope with as a passenger.

If you are a driver that has a passenger who suffers from motion sickness, you can definitely help by driving smoothly. Slow down gently. Take corners and bends more slowly. Be very gentle on the brake, the gas pedal and the clutch. Definitely don’t brake hard, or just quickly lift your foot off the cutch pedal. Practice with a bowl of water that is nearly full in the front of the car. If you can drive without spilling any, that’s a good indicator.

I’ve never actually been sick on an aeroplane despite having been on many flights. The longest and greatest number of flights was when I holidayed across Australia once. But very occasionally I do experience motion sickness on trains. Hence I normally sit in a forwarding facing window seat.
 

Wilts Wanderer

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I must admit I did occasionally feel queasy on certain train journeys when I was growing up, thinking back, despite my first post. I seem to recall it involved long journeys on over-warm air con stock, particularly Mk2d/e/f or occasionally a Mk3 if the brake pad smell was particularly strong. Never came close to being physically sick though.

Temperature / air flow is a major controlling factor in a car. I can’t abide any kind of warm air flow, even when it’s cold. My wife has learned to wear an extra cardigan if we’re driving somewhere in winter!
 

LSWR Cavalier

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Air-conditioning is a curse on trains, in road vehicles, shopping centres, I think. Especially when there is nice fresh weather outside, then going inside is torture. Anyone disagree?

I think modern motor cars might behave differently, do they have a 'freewheel' function like a cycle, so the vehicle suddenly changes speed when the throttle is released?
 

Annetts key

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I think modern motor cars might behave differently, do they have a 'freewheel' function like a cycle, so the vehicle suddenly changes speed when the throttle is released?
No, there should be no significant rapid change in speed, but in a conventional petrol or diesel engined vehicle, it will start to slow as the effect called engine braking takes effect.

The equivalent of freewheeling in a conventional petrol or diesel engined vehicle, is to slowly take your foot off the gas and slowly put your foot on the clutch. Thus disengaging the engine from the road wheels.
 

Irascible

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Air-conditioning is a curse on trains, in road vehicles, shopping centres, I think. Especially when there is nice fresh weather outside, then going inside is torture. Anyone disagree?

I think modern motor cars might behave differently, do they have a 'freewheel' function like a cycle, so the vehicle suddenly changes speed when the throttle is released?

I liked sunroofs. I wouldn't buy a new car right now anyway, but it doesn't seem to be an option anymore as far as I can tell ( along with any bright colour either! ). Convertibles are better still, unless it's really tipping it down or you get stuck in traffic you can drive around with the roof down even when it's raining & the rain will usually get sucked over the passenger compartment. A/C is a godsend in a city, but anywhere else, open the windows...

In a hybrid or electric car with the regen up high lifting off completely is much worse than a conventional car, it'll start trying to harvest & effectively throw the brakes on.
 

Annetts key

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In a hybrid or electric car with the regen up high lifting off completely is much worse than a conventional car, it'll start trying to harvest & effectively throw the brakes on.
It depends on how the manufacturer has designed it. In the hybrid car that I have, the manufacturer has arranged for it to react similar to a conventional petrol engine vehicle. I can lift my foot off the throttle (not that it’s actually a true throttle control) and it will coast nicely, and start slowing down slightly as if there is gentle engine braking. It is of course harvesting some energy via the electric motor and hence charging the battery.

But how well a vehicle is driven does depend on how good the driver is and how well the driver knows the vehicle. Bad drivers will often blame the vehicle.
 

Irascible

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It depends on how the manufacturer has designed it. In the hybrid car that I have, the manufacturer has arranged for it to react similar to a conventional petrol engine vehicle. I can lift my foot off the throttle (not that it’s actually a true throttle control) and it will coast nicely, and start slowing down slightly as if there is gentle engine braking. It is of course harvesting some energy via the electric motor and hence charging the battery.

But how well a vehicle is driven does depend on how good the driver is and how well the driver knows the vehicle. Bad drivers will often blame the vehicle.

Dependent on the economy profile the car is in too, perhaps? and yes it's going to depend on the manufacturer of course.

May sound a little odd but learning how to drive a race car is not the worst thing you can do to improve your road car handling, it's very much about not wasting energy, taking the most economical & smooth path - driving a car on the limit requires you to be *extremely* smooth. Perhaps advanced road driving instruction teaches the same thing, I've never done that though.
 

DerekC

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I don't seem to suffer from this. I recall a very choppy crossing from St Malo to Southampton many years ago, with the whole family sitting in the outside area. I was sent for food and coming back with the tray and walking along an internal corridor had to cope with the ship rolling. My visual processor had an argument with my inner ear over whether the rectangular doorway frames were really rotating round me! The sausage, egg and chips all round did get there safely, but it wasn't easy!
 

DelW

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I liked sunroofs. I wouldn't buy a new car right now anyway, but it doesn't seem to be an option anymore as far as I can tell ( along with any bright colour either! ). Convertibles are better still, unless it's really tipping it down or you get stuck in traffic you can drive around with the roof down even when it's raining & the rain will usually get sucked over the passenger compartment. A/C is a godsend in a city, but anywhere else, open the windows...
I like sunroofs too, they're a bit too noisy to have fully open at motorway speeds, but great on a nice sunny day on country roads. They're still on the options lists from some manufacturers - all my cars since 1989 have had them, the most recent being a 2012 Ford then a 2020 Mini.
 
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