can you get vertigo from driving long distances

Can You Get Vertigo From Driving Long Distances

Vertigo can be incredibly disorienting and sometimes, it can make you feel like you’re spinning around. When it comes from suddenly feeling very dizzy, the sensation can be so intense that you feel as if you’re going to fall over or even throw up. 

But does this mean that vertigo and driving long distances have anything to do with each other? Can you get vertigo from driving long distances? 

Let’s explore why this happens in more detail below.

Table of Contents

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is a general term used to describe a spinning sensation in your head. 

This can cause nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. These unpleasant symptoms make it difficult for people with vertigo to walk, work or even drive safely. 

The good news is that most cases of vertigo are temporary and will go away on their own within a few days. 

However, if you have severe vertigo that lasts longer than two weeks, see your doctor right away, as there may be underlying issues causing your condition. 

While driving can sometimes trigger vertigo, many drivers find ways to avoid its effects by changing their route or altering certain aspects of their car. 

For example, many reports that adjusting your mirrors helps reduce feelings of motion sickness while driving. 

While these tips might not completely eliminate feelings of dizziness while behind the wheel, they’re certainly worth trying out if you suffer from chronic vertigo when driving. 

After all, getting where you need to go is important, even if it means feeling sick along the way!

Signs of sitting-induced dizziness

Sitting in a moving vehicle, whether it’s a car or a plane, can cause dizziness. 

The inner ear is filled with fluid, and when that fluid moves while we’re seated in either direction, our sense of balance may get disrupted. This is especially true if we’ve been sitting for an extended period of time without getting up to walk around. 

If you begin to feel lightheaded or disoriented after sitting for a few hours, take a break and move around even if it means just walking to your seat on an airplane or train. 

Also, make sure you drink plenty of water; dehydration can lead to dizziness as well. 

Finally, avoid reading in cars or other vehicles where there’s little room to maneuver. 

It’s better to focus on the road ahead than try to read at 45 miles per hour!

What causes car sickness?

Motion sickness is caused by an imbalance between what your eyes see and what your inner ear detects. It can happen while riding in a car, boat, airplane, or amusement park ride. 

Some people are more sensitive to motion sickness than others, but it’s very rare for healthy adults to become ill after being on a car trip for about one hour. Children may be more susceptible because their sense of balance isn’t fully developed. But even children usually adapt within a few hours. 

If you do feel sick, try these tips of moving your head slowly back and forth or side to side. Take deep breaths, with your mouth open if possible. Close your eyes and imagine that you’re looking at a still picture instead of moving scenery outside the window. Sit toward the front of the vehicle. Avoid eating heavy meals before traveling. 

Try chewing gum or sucking on hard candy. Look out at objects far away from your vehicle. Eat small snacks during travel rather than three large meals. 

Stop frequently to rest and stretch your legs. If symptoms persist, pull over as soon as safely possible and take a break until they pass.

Know your triggers

Driving is something most of us do every day, but it’s also one of those activities that can bring on nausea if we aren’t careful. 

Generally speaking, motion sickness tends to happen 

when there’s a mismatch between what our eyes are seeing and what our ears and brain feel. The phenomenon is called vertigo, which explains why sitting in a rocking chair or on a boat can make some people ill. 

In cars, many drivers experience vertigo because they’re not able to see their surroundings moving, but their inner ear does. 

You might be more susceptible if you have an inner-ear infection or other condition like Meniere’s disease. Pregnant women and young children may also have an increased risk of feeling sick while behind the wheel. 

If you think your symptoms could be related to car sickness, try taking Dramamine before hitting the road. It is a OTC medicine for motion sickness, but you can always talk with a physicist before having it. It’s best to take it at least 30 minutes before departure, so give yourself enough time for your medication to kick in before you hit traffic. 

And remember: Avoiding sudden movements and keeping your head still can help minimize any unpleasantness during your trip. I can not stress enough that with any prescription drug, always consult your doctor before using Dramamine or any other medications while pregnant. 

If these suggestions don’t help ease your nausea, schedule an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist. He can check out whether anything else is going on that might explain why you feel so sick in the car.  

Your doc will likely ask you about your medical history, including any previous instances of dizziness or fainting. He or she will also perform a physical exam and look into your ears with an otoscope to rule out infections or other issues that could be causing pressure on nerves connected to balance. 

Your doc may also suggest additional tests such as blood work and an MRI scan, which can help identify inflammation in specific parts of your body, such as within your inner ear. 

Be sure to tell your doctor about any past injuries, surgeries, or ear infections you’ve had. 

There are several types of vertigo that can affect balance and cause nausea. Fortunately, most cases clear up on their own over time. 

But if you continue to suffer from frequent dizziness even after trying home remedies and talking with your physician, consider visiting a neurologist for further evaluation. 

A neurologist specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting your nervous system, including your brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. A neurologist can pinpoint the potential causes of your vertigo and discuss treatment options with you.

And be sure to report any persistent or worsening vertigo symptoms to your primary care provider. Symptoms that linger or return, especially if you’re experiencing them with other health problems, can be a sign of an underlying health issue that needs attention. 

So call your doctor right away if you’re experiencing severe dizziness or nausea along with headaches, trouble hearing, or vision changes. 

While vertigo and nausea can seem scary, it’s important to remember that most of these episodes go away on their own.

How to prevent car sickness while driving

Motion sickness is a common misery, particularly for those who don’t spend much time behind the wheel. How can you avoid this feeling while driving? Let’s find it out.

Look at the objects in far

The most common cause of motion sickness is visually fixating on one point while riding in a car or boat and feeling as if you are moving, when in fact you are not. To avoid getting sick while driving, try to look at distant objects rather than focusing on nearby ones. 

This can be accomplished by placing your hands on top of your steering wheel instead of gripping it tightly. 

Let the air flow in

You can also open your window slightly to let in some fresh air, the breeze may help keep nausea at bay. You will not feel suffocated while driving inside your car.

By not eating a heavy meal on road

In addition, many people find that eating small meals throughout their trip helps prevent nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. 

Breath in, breath out

If you start to feel queasy, take deep breaths and focus on something far away. 

Take a break at a gap

If these tips fail to relieve your symptoms, consider stopping for a break before continuing on your journey. 

Not driving for sometime

If you are traveling in a group, then you can take a break from driving, giving the charge to someone else from your group. By doing so you can take a break for a while where the journey continues.

If symptoms persist, pull over immediately and seek medical attention.

Car sickness remedies for vertigo symptoms

As you already know, motion sickness is a condition that makes some people feel ill or dizzy when riding in a car, boat, or other vehicles. 

It can be caused by factors like dehydration and changes in body position. Vertigo is a similar but distinct condition, where some of those affected report feeling as if they are being pulled down or spinning around. 

While motion sickness remedies may help relieve symptoms, there’s no cure for either condition. 

However, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of getting them while traveling. 

Here are four tips for treating these common travel illnesses, these tips are for those travelers not necessarily in the charge of driving.

Taking over the counter medicines

You can prevent nausea and vomiting related to motion sickness by taking over-the-counter medication like Dramamine before traveling. Some antihistamines work well against nausea, so ask your doctor about taking something stronger if needed. 

Stay hydrated

Try to keep yourself hydrated during travel, since many cases of vertigo and motion sickness stem from dehydration. 

Do not read

If you’re prone to getting car sick, try not to read while in a moving vehicle. Instead, look out at the scenery around you for a distraction that will take your mind off movement. 

Sit in an area with good air circulation

If possible, sit in an area with good air circulation and make sure there are no strong smells nearby that could cause more discomfort. 

Avoid your gadget

Avoid watching videos on a phone or tablet while riding in a car; it may be easier for your eyes to focus on small screens than on outside scenery that is passing by quickly. 

Seeking medical attention

If symptoms persist, stop driving immediately and seek medical attention. Vertigo often has physical causes that should be treated by a physician as soon as possible. 

It’s important to see a doctor if you experience dizziness when standing up, have difficulty walking straight, or feel disoriented. The sooner you receive treatment, the sooner you can resume normal activities.

What are the best cars for long distance travel?

You’re planning a cross-country trip and are wondering what kind of car to rent. You want one that will be comfortable, reliable, and as affordable as possible. 

What’s your best bet? 

Well, it depends on how far you plan to go and where you’ll be driving. 

Here are four popular options for renting a car for a long road trip. 

See what works best for your situation and rental needs. Keep in mind that there may be other variables when choosing a vehicle for your road trip. 

Is anyone else going with you? How many days do you have available? Do you require special features like GPS or satellite radio? Is gas mileage more important than comfort, or vice versa? 

Oftentimes, these details can make all the difference between a great trip and an awful one. 

For example, if you’re traveling with kids who don’t know how to drive yet, you might want something bigger than a compact car. 

Or maybe you’re only making a quick weekend trip to visit family. In that case, why not take advantage of cheap airport parking and fly instead? 

So let’s look at some factors to consider before deciding which type of car is right for your next vacation. 

Picking a car for your trip length

When it comes to picking out a car, things like comfort and speed aren’t usually top priorities, cost is. 

If you’re taking multiple weeks off work, most people would rather spend less money each day on their rentals, so they can spend more money on sightseeing along the way. 

In fact, sometimes it pays to pick a less expensive model even if it isn’t necessarily nicer because most of your time will be spent exploring outside anyway. 

On shorter trips, however, it makes sense to show off on a nicer car since you’ll be spending more time behind the wheel. 

Fuel economy

No matter how long your trip is, fuel economy should always be a concern.

Even if you don’t care about saving money at home, it still makes sense to try, and save as much cash as possible while traveling, just in case anything unexpected happens during your journey. 

After all, you never know when you might run into bad weather or traffic jams that could cause delays. 

The last thing you want is to end up left somewhere with no cell service and no way to contact help! 

Safety features

Although safety doesn’t tend to be a huge factor in choosing a rental car, it does play a role depending on your destination. 

If you’re headed to a large city, it’s probably smart to stick with a larger car. 

That way, you won’t feel vulnerable on busy streets and highways. If you’re going somewhere remote, though, you might be better off renting a smaller car that handles better in tight spaces. 

Insurance Coverage

Before you book your car, it’s a good idea to check your insurance policy to see if it covers any damage done by your rental. 

Some credit cards offer coverage, but others don’t. If you’re unsure, call your insurance company and ask if you’re covered.

You might also want to purchase a separate policy that covers rental cars specifically. This way, you won’t be stuck paying for any damages out of pocket. 

Mileage of the car

This is one of those it depends on the situation. 

Mileage can be a big deal if you’re on a long trip and don’t want to stop too often. But if you’re staying within a reasonable distance of your starting point, it’s less of an issue. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that most rental companies charge more for excessive mileage. If you think you’ll be going over your allotted miles, it might be worth renting a car with unlimited miles or at least one that offers more than what’s included in your package. 

It’s a little more expensive, but it can be worth it if you’re traveling for an extended period of time. 

Some extras 

Things like in-car DVD players and Bluetooth connectivity are all nice to have, but if you’re short on time or money, you might want to skip them. 

Instead, focus on getting a car that will get you from point A to B without any major problems. You can get all of your fun stuff at your destination. 

Choosing an ideal rental company 

Depending on where you’re traveling, you might have to use a specific rental car company. 

If that’s the case, it’s worth looking around for deals and discounts. You might be able to find a better price online than what’s offered through your travel agent or airline. 

If you’re free to choose any rental company, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, check your personal insurance policy to see if it covers any damage done by a rental car. 

Second, find out if your credit card provides similar coverage. 

Third, read reviews online and talk to friends who have rented from that company in order to get an idea of how reliable it is. 

Fourth, pay attention to any extra fees that might be added on after you’ve booked your car. 

Finally, remember that you can cancel your reservation at any time if you find a better deal elsewhere. 

If you do have to cancel, however, be sure to get in touch with your rental company as soon as possible. 

Most places require at least 24-hour notice before canceling or rescheduling your reservation. If you don’t give enough notice, you might be charged a fee or have to pay for another rental car.

What to do if your partner suffers from car sickness

If your partner often feels nauseous when traveling by car, he or she might be suffering from a condition called motion sickness. 

There are two types of motion sickness, and one is definitely worse than the other.  

Vestibular motion sickness

The first type is vestibular motion sickness, which occurs in people who have an imbalance between their inner ear, which senses balance, and their eyes, which sense movement. 

This can happen if there’s a discrepancy between what they see out of their window and what they feel in their stomach. 

It usually goes away after five to 10 minutes, or as soon as they close their eyes! 

Conflict motion sickness

The second type is sensory conflict motion sickness, which happens when our brain receives conflicting information about how we should feel while moving. 

For example, it could occur if we’re moving very quickly but don’t feel like we’re moving at all; or if we think we should be moving forward but aren’t; or even if our eyes tell us that something has moved, but our body doesn’t agree. 

In these cases, symptoms typically last longer than five to 10 minutes. 

But again, both types of motion sickness tend to go away on their own once you stop moving. If not, then don’t worry, the feeling will pass! 

You won’t always feel sick during a road trip, but if you do, try to remember that it will probably go away within 10 minutes. 

And keep in mind that just because you felt sick on one drive doesn’t mean you’ll feel sick on another. 

You may just need time to adjust to new surroundings and learn how best to cope with motion sickness.

How to keep your child calm when they have motion sickness?

It can be very difficult to keep a child calm when they have motion sickness. 

Motion sickness is caused by an imbalance of signals sent to and from your inner ear and eyes. 

Your child’s brain may be sending different signals than what their eyes are seeing, causing them to feel nauseous and dizzy. 

As parents, it’s important to know how to help your child stay as comfortable as possible during these times.

Here are some tips for helping children with motion sickness. 

Pacify your baby

Acknowledge that motion sickness happens to everyone, not just kids, and don’t shame your child if he or she has to sit out on a car ride or boat trip. Talk about all of the ways that people experience motion sickness, like riding in a plane or spinning around on a merry-go-round so that your child knows he or she isn’t alone. 

Preventive measures

Get ahead of motion sickness by taking preventive measures before traveling. You can take over-the-counter medication like Dramamine. Let your child eat foods high in vitamin B6 like bananas. 

Get medical advice 

If you know your child will need medication, talk to his or her doctor about dosage options. 

Let the kid sleep

On travel days, let your child sleep in as late as possible before hitting the road, this way, he or she will hopefully sleep most of the way through any potential nausea spells. 

Distract your baby

Try distracting your child with movies, games, books, or music, anything that keeps him or her focused on something other than being sick. 

Don’t get stressed

And remember to breathe deeply yourself! The more stressed you are about your child being sick, the more likely he or she is to become anxious too. Keep your cool and remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with having motion sickness. 

Kids who experience motion sickness early on tend to grow out of it eventually.

When should you get help?

If you have a set of dizzy periods and don’t know why, then it is time to seek help immediately. 

If your symptoms keep happening, and they stop when you sit or lie down, it could be something called benign positional vertigo. 

Your doctor will do an examination and might test your balance to see if these simple tests can trigger your symptoms, if they do, you may have positional vertigo. 

This type of vertigo is usually easy to treat with physical therapy. 

But if there are no triggers for your symptoms, you should still talk with your doctor about other possible causes of dizziness. You may need additional testing, such as imaging studies like MRI or blood tests such as thyroid function. 

In rare cases, dizziness can be caused by serious health problems that need immediate attention. 

Dizziness that comes on suddenly, especially in older adults, should always be evaluated by a physician.

And even if you aren’t experiencing dizziness now, pay attention to any changes in your vision or hearing so that you catch problems early on before they become permanent. 

While seeing a primary care provider regularly can help ensure that problems are detected early. Most people visit their eye doctor more often than their primary care provider this makes sense because many eye diseases develop slowly over time and require regular monitoring. 

The same goes for your ears, even though hearing loss typically develops gradually, many people wait until they really notice difficulty understanding speech before getting their hearing checked out. 

Early detection of hearing loss not only helps you avoid misunderstandings but also keeps you connected to friends and family and participating fully in social activities. 

So, whether you experience dizziness or not, schedule regular visits with your eye doctor and audiologist.

Last minute tips

Dehydration is a common cause of dizziness, so make sure to drink plenty of water while on your trip. 

There’s nothing worse than taking a spin on your way home. 

Similarly, those prone to motion sickness may want to look into over-the-counter medications like Dramamine, which can help reduce nausea and other uncomfortable symptoms of car sickness and vertigo. 

If these tips don’t work for you or if they become unbearable, stop your car and take a break. A few minutes in a quiet place with no distractions should be enough to calm down most cases of vertigo. 

Don’t forget to stretch out as well, being in one position for too long can lead to muscle tension that makes your head feel even more off-balance. 

Finally, don’t forget about proper sleep! 

You might have heard of sleep inertia, that groggy feeling you get when waking up after only a few hours of sleep but it applies just as much to fall asleep. 

Your body needs at least seven hours every night, so if you find yourself dozing off behind the wheel, pull over and grab an hour’s nap before continuing your journey. It will do wonders for both your safety and comfort levels on the road.

And if all else fails, remember, there are rest stops every 10 miles along major highways. Pulling over for 20 minutes to let your mind relax isn’t always a bad idea. 

But please, whatever you do: avoid sleeping at the wheel.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why am I dizzy after a long drive?

If you’ve ever driven for hours and then felt dizzy after reaching your destination, it’s likely that you experienced vertigo. Vertigo is a common problem with many possible causes, which is why it’s important to see a doctor if it continues or worsens.

How can I overcome vertigo while driving?

You can try a few different solutions to alleviate your symptoms and help prevent an attack while driving. For example, if your symptoms are triggered by eye movement, try focusing on an object that is far or focus on the road. In addition, wearing sunglasses on particularly bright days can also help mitigate certain types of triggers for some patients.

Can driving trigger vertigo?

Long periods of sitting can increase your risk of developing certain types of dizziness and vertigo. If your symptoms worsen while driving, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor.

Wrapping things up

Driving for extended periods of time can cause serious damage to your body. Your neck, back, and head are all areas that are susceptible to injuries caused by prolonged driving. So, can you get vertigo from driving long distances? There is a high possibility of it. 

If you’re looking for a way to avoid these problems altogether, consider investing in a ride-sharing app or scheduling a bus or train instead of renting a car when traveling with friends. With these methods, you can travel without worrying about causing bodily harm to yourself and others on the road. Always remember, safety comes first! 

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