Car gadgets 'could cause sickness'Sat nav and games devices have 'ill effects'

30 December 2008

Person using sat nav

Sat navs use GPS to find where you are

Gadgets given as gifts could lead to car-sickness chaos for vehicle occupants, according to new research

Many thousands of Britons will have received presents in the form of in-car entertainment and sat navs this Christmas.

But using such gadgets, as well as playing simple games such as I Spy, can increase the chances of people getting sick in cars, a study by transport research laboratory TRL and the esure car insurance company showed.

Based on a poll of 1,012 drivers, the research showed that 33% of Britons have been sick in a car by the time they reach the age of 12.

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In-car devices and the playing of games creates a conflicting sense of balance such as that experienced when trying to read books and maps in a car and which can lead to sickness, the research showed.

Mike Pickard, head of risk and underwriting at esure car insurance, said: 'As well as being an inconvenience, car sickness can be dangerous, especially if it causes the driver to avert their attention away from the road.

'With hand-held games and in-car gadgetry being popular gifts this Christmas, motorists should be aware of potential 'side-effects' of in-car entertainment.

'Drivers and passengers need to understand what steps to take to prevent car sickness in order to make their journeys more pleasant and the roads safer.'

Dr Cyriel Diels, human factors researcher at TRL, added: 'Parents will often spend a large amount of money on in-car entertainment items such as hand-held consoles and DVD players to make long journeys more endurable. Yet it is these items that actually increase the risk of car sickness.

'Parents should be aware of this, especially if their children are prone to car sickness.'

© Press Association 2008