Stay Safe on the Roads

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Feb 01, 2006 2:21 PM

My dad, in true dad fasion, sends along this advice, which I thought might be helpful to all of us (as most dad advice is):

TO stay alert behind the wheel on long road trips, skip the coffee and try sniffing peppermint or cinnamon.

Researchers from West Virginia have found that getting a whiff of pleasant odors periodically while driving increases alertness, reduces fatigue, and even lowers drivers' anxiety and frustration...

The current study builds on previous work by Dr Raudenbush and his colleagues, which suggested that, by stimulating the nervous system, peppermint and cinnamon odors enhance motivation and performance, increase alertness, and decrease fatigue among athletes and clerical office workers.

To test the effects of these odors on drivers, Dr Raudenbush's group had 25 college undergrads sniff peppermint, cinnamon, or a non-odor control for 30 seconds every 15 minutes during simulated driving conditions.