7 Reasons Why Reading in the Car is the Worst Idea


Do you love to read books?

Well, many people do and this can actually help you to pass time effectively. According to a study, about 53% of Americans love to read books and they do it regularly.

It is quite hard to stay away from the book you are currently reading and loving it. Do you tend to read while you are at home, café or traveling? Some people love to read books while travelling, but this can have consequences.

Are you thinking - should I read in the car?

It's not recommended to read while you are traveling in a car. It can cause several issues like nausea, sickness and dizziness. Also, it is quite bad for your eyes.

You probably have already heard people talking about how it is not right to read in the car.

This is because of many reasons. While you are traveling in your car, especially alone, reading books can be a good way to engage yourself in some activity. But this is the worst idea! Why? Read on to know the 7 reasons why you must avoid reading books in the car.

1. Motion Sickness

One of the main reasons why elders and even experts tell you not to read books or anything in the car is because of motion sickness.

About 1 in 3 people, according to a research, have motion sickness. Motion sickness is actually an uneasy feeling accompanied by fatigue and exhaustion.

This is more common when you are traveling for a longer time period. Motion sickness is caused due to the mixed signals sent by your inner ear and your eyes to the brain.

While your eyes are fixed on the book, it sends signal to the brain that you are still. But your inner ears can feel the motion and turns and send your brain the signal that you are moving.

These conflicting messages from the ears and eyes to your brain can cause sickness and uneasiness. This is quite common and can happen to anyone.

Generally, it fades away slowly as the motion stops, but you can also take medication to prevent it.

2. Severe Headache

Headache is another very common reason why people are advised not to read while traveling in the car.

While many people may not face motion sickness as such, they can feel an ache in their head. This is mainly because of the brain conflict.

Every organ of your body receives signal through their receptors and send the signal to the brain.

So, when you are travelling and reading a book at the same time, your eyes receives the signal of the steady book while your ears can receive the signal of the twist and turns of the car.

When the brain receives two different signals at the same time, it gets confused. Also, the momentum of the vehicle is much different from that of your body. Hence, it gives a severe throbbing ache in your head.

3. Nausea & Vomiting

Another reason why reading in the car is the worst idea is because it can make you nauseous. Do you get the feeling that you will throw up in the car?

Well, that is quite common when you are reading in the car, whether it is a physical book, eBook or even from your mobile phone.

It can cause nausea and it will lead to vomiting too. This can happen even more when you just have a heavy meal before starting the journey.

Feeling nauseous or vomiting when you are seating at the back of the car and reading something is quite a common effect.

It is all about your ears, eyes and brain. Due to the wrong or mixed signals, your brain thinks that you are hallucinating.

Hence, it makes you feel nauseous so that you can throw up and feel better. It can make your entire journey exhausting as feeling nauseous or throwing up is not a good feeling.

Thus, reading while the car is moving is a bad idea.

4. Cold Sweats

Reading in the car can cause several issues, health-wise. Besides all the things mentioned above, you can also get chill in your body causing cold sweats.

This happens mainly in your armpits and palms and when you are feeling anxious. Cold sweats not always mean something is abnormal.

But when you are reading while the car is moving, you may feel uneasiness inside. Though you may not feel dizzy or nauseous, you can get cold sweats.

This is not a good feeling at all and it is a warning sign that your body is not okay. This can be triggered when the blood flow is disrupted too due to the conflicting message in your brain.

It is better to immediately stop reading or even stop the car. Drink some water and throw some of it to your face. When the car starts again, don’t read! It is the worst idea.

5. Quite Bad For Eyes

While reading in the car when there is adequate light is not bad for eyes as such, but it can temporarily affect your vision.

When you are reading in a moving car, the book or the device is jerking or shaking continuously. This can affect your eyes by putting a lot of strain to them.

Due to the motion, you have to focus on each and every word very carefully which can stress your eyes to a great extent. This can make you short-sighted at times.

Even experts say reading a book while traveling is never a good idea. It not only put a lot of stress or strain to your eyes but it also can affect the ciliated muscles present in the eyes.

This can make those muscles weaker resulting in making your eyes lesser efficient. So, if you have a habit of reading books while traveling, you must quit it.

6. Gives You Vertigo

Another reason why experts say reading in car is the worst idea ever is – vertigo.

Yes, you can get vertigo even if you don’t have any underlying diseases. It can cause a feeling off balance and you may feel like your head is spinning around.

The main reason for vertigo is the disconnection between what your eyes see and the body feels when you are reading in the car.

This is best defined as a sense of movement of your surrounding or yourself when there is none actually. You balance center present in your brain actually receives mixed signals from visual input, inner ear input and position input. This tends to measure the movement and acceleration causing the vertiginous feel.

7. Miss Out The Moment

Are you one of those lucky people who don’t have issues such as motion sickness, dizziness, headaches etc.?

Well, congratulations!

But still I will say reading books while traveling in a car is a bad idea. When you are travelling by car, be it alone or with your friends and family, try to be present. Enjoy the sights and scenes that pass by. Sometimes, you have to learn to live in present.

The moment that is passing by will not come back again but you can read the book (or anything that you are reading) anytime.

Look out the windows and enjoy the views, people and every little thing out there. These small things and moments can be quite memorable to you. You will miss these moments. When you are on a road trip, what is fun in reading books if you can’t enjoy the road? Put down that book and look out!

How do you not get dizzy when reading in the car?

Well, as you can see, motion sickness and feeling dizzy is common if you are reading in the car. But how can you stop that?

If you have the tendency to get sick while reading in the car, you cannot stop that permanently. But yes, you can prevent it from happening for a temporary timespan.

Follow these steps to prevent getting dizzy when reading in the car:

  • You have to take proper medication for motion sickness one or two hours just before you start to travel
  • Make sure to choose the right seat which gets plenty of air, preferably by the window side
  • Don’t have a very heavy meal just before you start travelling as this can add your dizziness and sickness

As of now, there is no particular cure for motion sickness. Either you can follow these steps or you can just avoid reading while travelling. In case you feel sick even after following these steps, it is better to lie down with eyes closed.


Reading books while you are travelling is not a good idea. Though it is not dangerous for your health but it can cause some uneasiness and dizziness which will make you feel bad. Hence, you have to keep the book down and stop reading when you are travelling.

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