Q: What advice do you have for getting rid of motion sickness when riding as an instructor?

A: I’ve recently had a few people asking about motion sickness, so you’re not alone. I can’t say that I have the “cure” for this, but here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • The farther ahead you look when in the car, the less likely it is you’ll get motion sickness. When sitting in the passenger seat, it’s easy for our vision to drop. Try looking farther ahead.
  • Part of what triggers motions sickness is the difference from what we see and what we feel. If you can predict, imagine, and recreate what you would normally feel when driving based on what you see, then that can make the difference.
  • Be aware of your head position, because if it’s tipped down or up too much, or leaning, it could trigger a disconnect between what your inner ear is feeling, and what your eyes are sending to your brain.
  • There’s a technique in martial arts called “centering.” It involves touching the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, where there is an acupressure point that triggers balance in the body. Sometimes motion sickness is caused by the vestibular/balance system being off. Try riding with the tip of your tongue touching the upper part of the roof of your mouth.
  • The more engaged in an activity, the less likely you’ll experience motion sickness. When instructing, it’s easy to get into “ride” mode. The more engaged you are with what the driver is doing – actually pretending to using the steering wheel and pedals – the better it’ll be.
  • I’ve heard that ginger, ginger ale, and crackers can help. You can also try homeopathic or natural remedies or the wristbands that claim to help, but if they don’t work then one of the motion sickness patches is the way to go. There are other motion sickness remedies, but be careful since some will make you feel drowsy, and in the passenger seat while instructing is not a place you want to be when you’re not sharp.

For sure, it’s important to not let it get so bad that you can’t recover. As soon as you feel it coming on, you need to get out of the car, get fresh air, and lay down. Often, laying flat will help you regain your sense of balance, and help you feel better. Once it starts to come on, the longer you wait to deal with it, the worse it’s going to get – a lot worse. It may not be until the following day before you feel normal again, so don’t wait to deal with it.