Here's Why You Get Sick Reading In The Car

The Lucky Ones

The Lucky Ones

For some lucky people (I don't trust them to be honest), taking a ride in a car is a relaxing enough occasion that they can kick back and relax to the point where catching up on reading is a legit option.

For those of you who share more in common with me, it's not long before doing what we've just described leaves one feeling nauseous and on the verge of vomit.

Our Idiot Brains

Our Idiot Brains

By why does the simple act of reading while traveling in a moving vehicle give you the insidious sense you might spew all over the place?

Well, it's because of our "idiot brains" says, neuroscientist and author Dean Burnett, according to The Sun.

Avoiding Poison

Avoiding Poison

It's because of earlier times. Way, way earlier...

At one point in our evolution, our bodies were at real threat at the hands of predators. But also, eating plants which were poisonous was a real problem, and so our bodies developed a system of vigilance which sees stress responses go mad at the first sign of poison.

Playing Catch Up

Playing Catch Up

Of course, these days we see riding in a car while reading a book as a pretty normal thing to do. The only problem is that social evolution and technology tends to move a whole lot faster than physical evolution.

What this means is that our brains haven't yet had time to catch up.

Motion Sickness Medicine

Motion Sickness Medicine

“When you think about it, moving shouldn’t make us sick. We move around all the time," Burnett told National Public Radio's Fresh Air.

“We’re a very mobile species. So … why would moving suddenly make us want to throw up?

“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.”

“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’.

“We get motion sickness because the brain’s constantly worried about being poisoned.”

So for now, all you've got is motion sickness medicine.