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Do You Get Motion Sickness In The Car? Here Are Some Tips To Prevent It!



Author: Sami Haj-Assaad -

The symptoms of motion sickness are pretty recognizable – headache, dizziness, nausea, and an overall awful feeling of unease and fatigue. There are a variety of reasons it happens, but they mostly have to do with disruptions to the multiple ways human bodies interpret motion.
Typically, input from your eyes, ears, and even your skin are managed by your brain to say, "Yes we're moving," making everything feel fine. However, when the inputs are muddied or distorted, then you may get motion sickness.
For example, sitting in the rear seat of a car, you get the feeling the car is moving forward, but since you can't see the direction you're going, the brain gets an incomplete idea of what's going on around you. Additionally, the up and down motions from a bumpy road or soft suspension, as well as side-to-side body roll from a windy route, can result in even more muddy messages being sent to your brain, leading to motion sickness.
Reading while in a car is a common trigger for motion sickness: as your eyes move across a page, your body is moving in a different direction, triggering yet another imbalance and more motion sickness. Another issue popping up in cabins today are handheld devices like phones and tablets. Having your head down looking at these screens while in motion can lead to even faster onset of motion sickness.
Passengers tend to get motion sickness more than drivers since they receive an obstructed view of where the vehicle is going, nor can they anticipate the motion of the vehicle, unlike the driver. This may cause a significant issue in the future with more automakers looking to develop autonomous vehicles that make everyone a passenger.

Automaker Support
Automakers have been trying to prevent motion sickness with varying degrees of success. Some changes have led to significant changes in vehicle design. For example, Ford found that moving infotainment and entertainment screens higher up on the dash helps to bring the passenger's eyes to the horizon and front of the vehicle, preventing motion sickness. Many other automakers are following this design, which is one reason you may see so many infotainment screens on top of the dashboard.
Mazda puts a lot of effort into making its vehicles feel more natural. "Mazda focuses our ride and handling development around human balance," said Dave Coleman, Vehicle Dynamics Manager at Mazda. "Our goal is to make the car feel like an extension of the driver's body," he said, adding "if you make the car move in a natural, organic way that satisfies the balance centre of your brain, that also fixes the causes of motion sickness."

The automaker researched the human body paying particular attention to elements like posture, eyes, and how the brain interprets motion; and changed various aspects of its new cars to better support the people who drive their cars. They redesigned their seats to promote a more natural, upright position, shaping your spine in an S rather than a C like when you're slouched in a chair. "This more active seating position helps you naturally, subconsciously balance as the car moves you around," Coleman said.
He also explained that they found it essential to align what your eyes see with what your inner ear feels. "As you drive into a corner, we've found it very beneficial to make sure your eyes see the vehicle body roll a fraction of a second before your inner ear feels the lateral G forces." This is a major part of the brand's G-Vectoring Control, which was designed to improve the handling feel of Mazdas by cutting a minute amount of engine torque when there's a steering input. The by-product of that is a more natural-feeling car: it pitches forward a tiny bit when the driver turns the wheel, which gives the body a warning that you're in motion and can be expecting a turn. This tiny bit of feedback while driving helps to mitigate motion sickness, even for passengers too.

Curious what else causes motion sickness? Click HERE!

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