Scent-sible Driving


If your car is a lemon, you’ve got problems. But if it actually smells like lemon, it may make its owner a better driver. Or so concludes the British RAC Foundation for Motoring which has done research on the effects of smells on drivers and claims that certain scents can enhance or diminish driving performance.

Psychologist Conrad King explained that because "smell circumnavigates the logical part of the brain...the ability of various smells to over or under stimulate us as drivers can have catastrophic results."

Scents like coffee, peppermint, cinnamon, and salty sea air, they claim, can increase alertness and concentration almost imperceptibly.

On the other hand, fried food and baking smells can stir up road rage potential because drivers who feel hungry tend toward irritability and excessive speeds.

The scents of chamomile, jasmine, and lavender are also dangerous, since they can to cause drivers to relax - possibly too much - and feel sleepy.

Natural odors, like pine, cut grass, or wildflowers can distract from the task at hand as well.

Before abandoning the air freshener dangling from the rearview mirror for good, however, take note: even scentless car interiors can be problematic; they may heighten irritability and even incite the driver to odor hallucinations.