- Easter traffic could be sickening for millions
- Passengers staring at a screen felt ill in 10 minutes
- Youngsters, teens worst affected – as are goldfish
COLOGNE, Germany – Guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of any car-driver is the plaintiff cry from the back seat: “I feel sick!”
“It will,” according to a survey commissioned by Ford Europe, “be chorused in cars across Europe – and South Africa – shortly when millions of families head of by road for the Easter holiday.”
Stop-start traffic and winding roads will affect two-thirds of the population at some point, the survey says. It’s most prevalent among children and teenagers and, unfortunately, is more likely when sitting in the rear of a car.
Being head-down over a game console, cellphone or tablet makes things worse. So does watching a movie. People can be affected within 10 minutes of setting off on holiday.
‘AVOID FAMILY NIGHTMARE’
Eike Schmidt, a research engineer with Ford in Aachen, Germany, told The Corner in a media release: “Car sickness can turn an eagerly awaited family trip into a nightmare with mum and dad looking nervously over their shoulders and fearing the worst.
“Comfort is important – we want to do everything we can to reduce travel nausea.”
Yawning and perspiring are warning signs for a condition caused, we were told, by a mismatch of information sent to the brains from the eyes and balance organs – but doesn’t affect babies – probably because they have not learned to use balance to walk.
Pets – even goldfish – can be affected, according to sailors.
Dr Jelte Bos from Perceptual and Cognitive Systems in The Netherlands reports: “Car-sickness is a complex problem – a natural reaction to unnatural stimuli – and cannot be cured.
“We can, however, alleviate the symptoms.”
Passengers who keep their head up – perhaps by mounting a video screen higher – and can see the passing scenery on each side of the car were less likely to be nauseous.
…AND SOME ANSWERS
Further experiments will seek ways to warn of twisting roads. Bos added: “Adopting a smoother driving style goes a long way towards reducing feelings of nausea – and reduces fuel-consumption.”
Nevertheless, here are some suggestions for avoiding discomfort right from the start of what The Corner hopes will be your great family holiday:
- Sit in the middle of the rear seat to be able to view the road ahead.
- Ask dad to drive smoothly, to avoid sudden braking, harsh acceleration and potholes.
- Distract sufferers – a family singalong could help and even be fun.
- Drink cola, eat ginger biscuits, avoid coffee.
- Use a pillow or head support to keep your head as still as possible.
- Run the air-conditioning to keep cool fresh air circulating.