Perfect Reason Why Reading In Cars Makes You Want To Vom

4 min read
Perfect Reason Why Reading In Cars Makes You Want To Vom

Have you ever experienced dizziness or nausea while reading in cars? You’re not alone! It’s a common phenomenon, and there’s a scientific reason behind it. When you’re reading a book or looking at your phone in a moving vehicle, your eyes are focused on a stationary object while your body senses motion.

For some people, car journeys are the perfect time to relax and catch up on your favourite book.

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For others, the thought of being a passenger in any moving vehicle is enough to make you nauseous, dizzy, and regretful that you ever agreed to a road trip.

So why is it that some people get motion sick in cars, and why the hell does reading in cars make it worse?

This Is Why Reading In Cars Makes You Want To Vom | Stay At Home Mum

Well, neuroscientist and author Dean Burnett has the answer. In an article published by The Sun, Burnett puts motion sickness down to our “idiot brains” which think that they’re being poisoned.

It turns out that back in the day when hunters and gatherers were normal, and we spent our days fearing for our lives from predators and plants out to kill, we became hyper-vigilant. This vigilance was a kind of stress response that caused sickness at the first sign that something might be up, like poisoning.

Modern human beings can’t really see anything abnormal about sitting in the back and enjoying a guilty paperback, but the cavemen who live in our brains are a little slower on the uptake. In an interview with NPR, Burnett had this to say:

“When you think about it, moving shouldn’t make us sick. We move around all the time. We’re a very mobile species. So”¦ why would moving suddenly make us want to throw up?

Apparently, it all comes down to the way we move around, relying on vehicles instead of our own bodies.

“When we’re in a vehicle like a car or a train, or a ship especially, you’re not actually physically moving. Your body is still. You’re sat down. You’ve got no signals from the muscles saying we are moving right now your muscles are saying we are stationary.”

However, while your muscles might say you’re stationary, other parts of your body do not. The fluid in your ears, for example, continues to move, which informs the body that you’re still in motion, despite your muscles, nerves and eyes claiming it isn’t true. What you end up with is mixed messages from a sensory confusion, which happens to be exactly the kind of sensory mismatch that we experience when we’re being poisoned.

With your brain fighting itself over whether you’re in one place or in motion— reading in cars, your body is getting the message to throw up and rid yourself of whatever it is that’s making you sick. Burnett says:

“As soon as the brain gets confused by anything like that, it says, ‘Oh, I don’t know what to do, so just be sick, just in case’.” So basically, motion sickness comes from your brain being super vigilant and anxious. Talk about a worry wart!

And what about reading?

This Is Why Reading In Cars Makes You Want To Vom | Stay At Home Mum
Reading In Cars via

Well, reading in cars make the sensory mismatch that much worse because instead of looking out of the window, and proving to your brain that you are still in motion, you’re looking at a static page, which just makes everything that much more confusing.

Oh and just in case you were wondering, kids tend to get worse motion sickness because their brains are still developing, and are therefore easier to confuse. The good news is, many people grow out of it by the time they reach adulthood, or at least learn to manage it better!

Do you get motion sickness when you travel or reading in cars?

This Is Why Reading In Cars Makes You Want To Vom | Stay At Home Mum

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Oceana Setaysha

Senior Writer A passionate writer since her early school days, Oceana has graduated from writing nonsense stories to crafting engaging content for...Read Morean online audience. She enjoys the flexibility to write about topics from lifestyle, to travel, to family. Although not currently fulfilling the job of parent, her eight nieces and nephews keep her, and her reluctant partner, practiced and on their toes. Oceana holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Writing and Indonesian, and has used her interest in languages to create a career online. She's also the resident blonde at, where she shares her, slightly dented, wisdom on photography, relationships, travel, and the quirks of a creative lifestyle. Read Less

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