Why does car sickness occur? Which driving method is comfortable for passengers?

Being aware of the passengers comfort is crucial when driving, especially elderly people, whose legs and hips may become weak and body movements may become sluggish, so it is necessary to be careful when driving. Similarly, with small children, it is possible that the body cannot cope with the movement of the car well, even if a child seat is used, it is necessary to be careful.

Looking at the driver’s operation from the back of the car, I often see a restless run. Even though the flow of the car is smooth, the speed is not stable and the acceleration and deceleration are constantly repeated. Or, when entering a curve, there are cases in which you tend to stick out the outer lane. Furthermore, in the urban area, even though many drivers see that the traffic light is red from a distance, the pattern is people still step on the accelerator.


Even so, the driver may be driving without feeling any discomfort because he/she operates it on his own will. However, it is also true that many passengers feel uneasy and uncomfortable in a car that is restless and suddenly changes behavior. You may also think that you are prone to car sickness because of your physical condition. However, for example, if you use the cruise control with adaptive function and the lane keeping function, which are driving assistance functions, the car will automatically keep an appropriate speed and run along the lane. It has the advantage that it becomes smooth and passengers can ride comfortably. The driving support function not only improves safety but also has the effect of comfortable driving. So why is it that many drivers cannot do such a smooth driving operation?

The first reason is that your eyes are too close to next car while driving. Many drivers are looking at the rear of a car driving in front of them and maintaining the distance between them. Therefore, if the inter-vehicle distance is shortened even a little, the brake pedal is stepped on, and if it is widened, the accelerator pedal is stepped on repeatedly. The drivers of the cars in front are doing the same thing, so both cars will cycle up and down. Therefore, the passenger cannot lean back and sit down with his body leaning forward or curving backwards. When driving there, it is easier to stabilize the speed if you try to look far away while keeping in mind the state of the car in front of you and be aware of the flow of traffic. Even if a large vehicle such as a truck is in front of you, you can see far from the gap between the vehicles due to the curve. Of course, it does not mean ignoring the car in front of you. In martial arts, this is called “Enzan’s Mezuke”. It means that you can see the scenery in front of you as if you were looking at a distant mountain.

If you look at the situation while driving in this way, you can grasp the flow of the traffic, and if some of the cars in front of you turn on the brake lights, the car in front of you will slow down, get ready to start releasing the accelerator pedal early. Since the car in front of you has stepped on the brakes, instead of rushing to apply the brakes, first release the accelerator and slow down slowly, so that passengers will not be prone to leaning forward. The same applies when accelerating. Be prepared to step on the brakes at all times, and keep your foot off the pedals, ready to step on the accelerator pedal whenever a car ahead of you starts to speed up. That way, after the car in front of you accelerates, there is no need to press the accelerator pedal in a hurry, and you can accelerate faster. If this happens, the passenger will not lean forward.

Looking at a distance is also effective when turning a curve. This is because the tightness of the curve can be predicted in advance. However, if you look at all the cars in front of you, you will not notice the curve and you will not be able to know the depth of the curve before you can start operating the steering wheel.

Therefore, the operation of returning the overcut handle is performed in the middle of the curve. The fact that you are about to stick out the outer lane on a curve is a sign that the steering wheel is delayed.

If you just turn one curve and turn or return the steering wheel many times, the passenger will be shaken from side to side, and your body will not be stable. In addition, if you have the habit of looking as far as you can from the exit of the curve, you will be able to make a smooth transition to a straight line when you are aware that you will begin to return the steering wheel when the end of the curve approaches.


By reducing sudden acceleration / deceleration and repeated steering wheel operations in this way, car sickness should be less likely to occur. In the first place, when you start, in order to prevent the sudden force from creeping on the car, release the brake and slowly press the accelerator pedal for smooth takeoff.

Even when braking, if you slightly return the pedal just before stopping, the passenger’s body will not lean forward.

It is not just a matter of slowly driving, but if you take advantage of the car’s functions and operate while keeping in mind the route, you will naturally get a smooth run.

On top of that, smooth initial acceleration helps improve fuel efficiency. If you are driving to adjust the speed while watching a distant signal, the signal may turn green at the slow speed stage before you slow down excessively by using the brake just before the signal or stop. If you do so, you can accelerate again while the car is moving, which is effective in improving fuel efficiency. This is because the fuel efficiency of a car is the worst when it starts. Comfortable driving for passengers may not only help the other person, but also warm up his/her wallet of fuel savings.

Contact the author: andrewhawkins@wheelsjoint.com


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