The Vestibular Migraine Community

Motion sickness. Why can I only drive one car now?


I would very much like to know if anyone else has had this problem.

I have always been rather prone to travel/motion sickness, but up until last year it was only ever as a passenger. I have had several cars and I have always been ok as the driver. But last year I was given a much newer car and I was unable to keep it as driving it caused me to feel car sick!

I went back to my old Corsa and have been driving that happily since.

However it has now failed its MOT and it would cost far more to fix it than the car is actually worth, but … I am able to drive this car with no issues and it doesn’t make me feel sick or dizzy.

I have been offered another car (free of charge) which is much newer again but it seems to make me travel sick as well. As did the one belonging to my dad when I tried that recently.

I am struggling to know what to do as to anyone else paying to get my little rust heap fixed seems crazy, and it may only last another year if it does get done. I don’t understand how I can seemingly only drive this car and nothing else.

I do wonder if it is anxiety bringing on the symptoms, or if I have become more sensitive, but whatever the cause they are real. Anyone had anything similar?


Sarah, I’d wager that different cars have different steering and suspension set ups - some are bound to make you feel more woozy than others - does your other car have softer suspension? Its well know that being a passenger puts you more at risk of motion sickness because the brain feels out of control of your motion and its even worse if you try to read as the brain has less to correlate the motion with. It just may be that your Corsa gives you a more direct relationship between your actions and the cars movement - so I’d stick with your Corsa. You could always take a vestibular suppressant but that’s going too far if you can sort the problem out by just driving the right kind of car and you don’t want to have a sleepy brain whilst driving!. Maybe you could get the other cars suspension adjusted to be stiffer at a garage? Or if its a fancy modern car it might have settings?


Thank you, this is really helpful. I was starting to wonder if I was making it happen by worrying that it might. It is hard when no one else around you has the same issue. But what you said does make sense.

I haven’t heard the reason for passenger travel sickness explained in that way before. Interesting. I wouldn’t even bother trying to read anything more than a text while travelling!

Thanks again for the reply.


@ Sarah356, What James says makes perfect sense. I am seldom in a car other than my own…(a little old Corsa lite ):slight_smile:…but when symptomatic, I find that if the enjine is idling, say waiting at a robot, it affects me! I have also found other vibrations, such as working at, or leaning against the counter on which a motor is running can affect me much the same way as a flickering fluorescent light.
Perhaps other cars have a slightly different vibration level to your own car?


Hi Mazzy, yes I guess it must be something like that. To be honest I was relieved to get such a well explained response from James. I didn’t answer the questions about suspension because to be honest I don’t know about different types or much about the mechanics of cars at all. I just know about the effect these newer cars seem to have on me when I try to drive them.

I have become a bit of a joke with my family because of my inability to move on to newer things! I must be the only person in the UK that still has an old widescreen TV (not a flat screen). I tried a flat screen TV and it made my eyes hurt, so I got my old one put back. My children are not impressed, they both have flat screen TV’s in their rooms.

It is the same with my computer screen. I have tried the flat screen ones and have problems with my eyes from them so I now have a giant old one, that I got out of storage for a fiver from my old place of work!!

I don’t know what it is about newer screens, perhaps it is the different way they are lit, either way I can be a bit of a nightmare for anything new. I don’t even like LED Christmas lights up in the lounge. I use the old ones that keep needing bulbs replacing!


Yup - I’m afraid all the technicalities are way beyond me, too!
I also hate change!!! I have been throwing hissie fits for months about having to give up my Bkackberry phone with a keypad for a touch screen one…but I have eventually got my head around my new one and love it! :blush:

My mantra is …‘if it works for you - stick with it!!’ Hope you can get your comfort zone car fixed!


I’ve still got the original Nokia!!!:blush:


Oooh keep that one nice, could be worth a lot one day!

However, have you ever seen how many models they made? We’re on iPhone, what,~11 now? (if you include the ‘S’ models’.

Take a look at this list!:


It just says Nokia, no number or anything so I haven’t got a clue which one it is but I still love it.:blush:


@Sarah356 I am currently unable to drive because the dizziness is so bad, but even before I got this dizziness crap I’ve always been prone to motion sickness, and certain types of cars make it worse than others. For me it was more of riding as a passenger. But any type of car that has a boxy shape bothers me, or anything that’s super slanted up front with limited sight out the front, sides, and back bothers me. I also have never been able to ride in any type of mini-van without feeling sick. My mom’s Corolla seems to waver from side to side, or if drivers themselves make the car waver I have the same problem. I’m the best riding in our old 98’ Honda Accord. Anything newer seems to be worse for me. I noticed it driving a little bit awhile ago when I could still drive. I had driven my 07’ Toyota Rav 4 for years and loved it. Sometimes driving even made me feel better back then. But then I had to let my husband drive it for his job and we got that Honda accord, took me a LONG time to get used to it. Also, occasionally the color of the interior has bothered me, as well as smells such as from leather seats. Hope this helps and is a different perspective from someone who knows exactly what you mean!


Leather seats are a total no no and have been since I was a child. I decorated my Dad’s car several times, yuck! He had a super snipe, kind of low slung saloon which made me very, very sick. I too am better as the driver in a not fancy car, just a little KA suits me just fine.


Ha ha. I am not the only one without an iphone then :grin:


Hi Jess. Thanks for your reply. Yes, it was always as a passenger for me too until my dad bought me a Corolla last year! I couldn’t drive it without feeling sick so he sold it. There must be something about those cars!!

I have always been prone to travel sickness too, as a child I was quite bad. But now… even as a driver?? I am either going to pay to get my old heap fixed, or get another similar heap! Because I enjoy driving and I am not willing to lose that just because of money. It is a hard thing to explain to someone who doesn’t have this problem but it matters more than money to me that I can drive and not feel sick.


[quote=“Sarah356, post:12, topic:13788”]
Ha ha. I am not the only one without an iphone then :grin:

Makes 3 of us! The staff just stared open mouthed when I said I did’nt want to take over my hubby’s I.Phone, but wanted a Samsung!! :blush:


oh don’t start an iPhone/Android war on here, that’s all we need! :smiley:


No war - people just think I’m crazy…but then I knew that already!:grin: I just think that everyone should get to use and do what works for them, whithout being ‘judged’ by the bloody world at large!
One of the advantages of getting older - you’re allowed to be eccentric!!!


And naughty if only VM would let us😊


@Sarah356 You’re welcome. Yes car/motion sickness seems to have been hereditary for me, and the MAV has made my situation MUCH worse. My dad had it as a child then grew out of it. My mom has it and it’s gotten worse over time. She also has trouble getting herself carsick as a driver, and she doesn’t even have MAV or anything. Good luck, I agree, keep driving as long as you can, no matter the cost. I had to stop a little over a year ago as turning my head and using my eyes was getting me extremely dizzy while in the car. At first I just felt slanted, but then it got me nauseated while driving. I could definitely feel I couldn’t use my neck and eyes to their full capacity. Definitely not safe to be on the road. But since stopping driving I’ve gotten worse, probably from not turning my neck as much. What a horrible condition this is.


Hi Jess. I have since been able to get used to the new car, which has been a really good thing. I am sorry to hear that you had to give up driving, perhaps it won’t be forever.