I bought a new dual cab ute this weekend. As I slid into the driver’s seat for the test drive I was overwhelmed. The stench! A headache inducing mix of cigarette smoke, male body odour and rotting food. There was a left over chocolate thick shake spilt in the back, a half-eaten burger and a can of coke with cigarette butts floating in it. The only aromas missing were that of wet dog and the classic pine tree shaped air freshener much loved by teenage P plate drivers everywhere.
Driving a vehicle is a task that uses all 5 of your senses and all 5 can have an impact on the success of your journey. As we all know the scents we smell can have a huge impact on our mental state. The right scent can induce sleep, improve concentration, reduce stress and anxiety, and make you crave deep fried foods. "Scents can have positive effects on mood, stress reduction, sleep enhancement, self-confidence, and physical and cognitive performance," says Theresa Molnar, executive director of the Sense of Smell Institute, the research and educational arm of the perfume industry's Fragrance Foundation.
So if you are in a car what are the best tips to enhance your driving experience? Firstly, remove all of the bad smells. Clean out any food scraps, rubbish and old musty clothes. In these days of air conditioned rides and toxic traffic fumes, few of us will willingly leave our windows down regularly to blast the interior with “fresh” air but if you are game give it a try. Give the interior a good clean and try to keep it tidy. Each time you get out of the car take a handful of rubbish with you and it won’t accumulate mysteriously overnight.
Next add an air freshener. Choose an air freshener device that blends with your interior features – not a big chunky item that hangs and swings and serves as a distraction. If you have to keep adjusting the device or fixing it back in place it will drive you crazy in no time. I also like to use an air freshener made of quality material. The Wilde Drive air fresheners are made from stainless steel so I don’t have to worry about plastics leaching into the scent as they sit in the hot car all day.
Air fresheners like the classic servo edition pine trees are loaded with Phthalates and chemicals that can have many negative side effects. There are plenty of air freshener devices you can buy that have interchangeable pads so you can add your own toxin free essential oil blends or scents. The interchangeable fibre pads have an advantage over timber in that they can be rinsed clean and reused with a completely new scent for each drive.
When choosing the perfect scent for your car focus on scents that will improve focus and concentration, and reduce stress and anxiety. Peppermint and strawberry have been found to help. Athletes who sniffed peppermint ran faster and had better concentration than those who had no smell, while children performed better at tests when exposed to the aroma of fresh strawberries. I often use my favourite perfume to feel a little luxurious and indulgent. Have a chat to an aroma therapist or google the best options and then take the time to experiment with your scents of choice. Regardless of the effects the aroma therapists promise the scent will deliver, if you can’t stand the smell don’t use it.
So there you have it:
If you have found a scent that you highly recommend for driving please let me know, and if you are looking for a quality device please check out my Wilde Drive air fresheners.