The neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, Alan R. Hirsch, MD, FACP, says inhaling certain scents like jasmine have been found to improve motor reaction time—helping you to hit the brakes faster. A mixture of eucalyptus, camphor and menthol (found in Vicks VapoRub
) has been shown to enhance empathy—helpful when you're caught behind a Sunday driver on a manic Monday. And if it feels like the walls of your compact car are caving in, green apple and cucumber (which studies have found reduce anxiety and claustrophobia) could help you maintain your cool. However, spritzing a fragrance all over your car's interior can discolor the upholstery, says Jessica Hanson, director of fragrances at Sephora
. Instead, spray a scent on a piece of felt, keep it in your glove compartment and pull it out before you hit the road.