Driving Dehydrated As Bad As Driving Drunk, Study Finds
Safe driving is more than just obeying speed limits, and this is doubly true when it comes to long road trips. While it can be tempting to end a big trip with as few pit stops as possible, it’s imperative that people make sure they’re well rested and, according to a new study, adequately hydrated.
The British company Leasing Options recently carried out a study on driving (and alcohol) habits among the British. It found that 55% of motorists drink less than the UK’s recommended 1.8 liters of water per day.
He adds that dehydration can cause fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramps, loss of focus and headaches. Those with diabetes, those who have been too recently exposed to the sun, and those who take medication are among the most likely to feel the effects of dehydration.
Research from Loughborough University cited in the study indicates that mild dehydration can have the same impact on your driving as driving the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.08%.
“Slight hypohydration produced a significant increase in minor driving errors during prolonged, monotonous driving, compared to that seen when performing the same task in a hydrated state,” Loughborough research indicates .
“The magnitude of the decrease reported was similar to that observed after ingestion of an alcoholic beverage resulting in a blood alcohol level of around 0.08% (the current legal driving limit in the UK), or cases of sleep deprivation. “
“The loss of 1.5% water results in impaired tasks that require concentration, motor coordination and rapid decision-making. Loss of focus is the main cause of tragedies in areas that require high levels of focus, ”says Jacob Hatch, founder of Hydration Everywhere.
“Because driving requires a lot of attention, you need to take in more fluids than you lose to avoid disorientation. If you have to travel long distances in hot weather, make sure you have plenty of water in the car and plan several stops before your trip so you don’t skip drinking water to avoid toilet breaks.
“These tactics help you focus while driving and thus avoid making common driving mistakes, which account for 94% of car crashes. [in the UK]”.
Advice to drivers? Rental options say they should drink water before their trip, keep a bottle of water on hand during, take regular breaks, and avoid excessive use of air conditioning on board as it has an “effect.” desiccant ”on your car’s air.