Could an air freshener hold the key to combatting road rage?

A new project from Leasing Options and an expert at the University of Oxford is aiming to help drivers by introducing a combination of scents into the car which could help with negative emotions experienced on the roads.

Thursday, 21st September 2017, 4:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th September 2017, 11:51 am

The leading vehicle leasing company partnered with Professor Charles Spence, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, to establish and create air freshener scents that may help drivers manage road rage, nausea, tiredness and nervousness behind the wheel.

The conditions analysed were developed following a survey of over 1,000 drivers that found road rage/anger (50%), stress (48%), drowsiness/tiredness (44%), nervousness (43%) and travel sickness/nausea (13%) are common experiences when behind the wheel.

Five scented air fresheners were then created using natural ingredients based on these common complaints:

Pink grapefruit and cinnamon to combat drowsiness

As many as a third of all road traffic accidents are believed to be a result of drowsy drivers, according to research by Britain’s Transport Research Laboratory. Filling your car with a combination of pink grapefruit and cinnamon scents may help with drowsiness, as these smells have been proven to help extend your wakefulness.

Lavender, lemon and burnt rubber to calm road rage

Over half of the UK’s drivers admit to experiencing anger and impatience behind the wheel. Lavender, lemon and the smoky scent of burnt rubber have been proven to have a calming effect, so a simple combination of these could help to keep road rage at bay.

Ginger and peppermint to beat nausea

Although travel sickness is most commonly associated with passengers and not the driver, feelings of nausea can be severely detrimental to driving. Releasing a ginger and peppermint aroma into the car may help to settle the stomach.

Pine needles and fresh-cut grass to calm nerves

Almost half (47%) of 18 to 24-year-old drivers admitted to experiencing nervousness while on the road. Filling your car with the smell of pine needles and freshly cut grass could help to keep nerves at bay.

Bergamot and sweet marjoram to reduce stress

Nearly half (48%) of UK drivers admit that they have felt stressed when driving. The smell of citrus bergamot (bitter orange and lemon) with a hint of sweet marjoram [7] could help to alleviate any stresses and allow drivers to relax.

Charles Spence, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, said: “A growing body of scientifically credible research now shows releasing pleasant scents while driving could help us all to have a more positive experience on the open road.

“I believe we undervalue the effect that smell can have on our state of mind. Having an air freshener that helps to combat the emotional or physical states you struggle with most while driving can only be a positive thing.”

Mike Thompson, Brand Manager at Leasing Options, added: “Our research found drivers frequently experience a huge range of emotions on the road, from drowsiness to road rage, and many of these common emotional and physical states can have a real impact on their concentration.

“Keeping these emotions in mind, we produced brand new air freshener scents that could mean more drivers can feel alert, calm or motion-sickness-free on the roads.”

To get your hands on one of the limited edition air fresheners and read the in depth report about the science we used to identify the scents, visit the Leasing Options website: