Driving Dehydrated Comparable to Driving Drunk

Posted on July 1, 2015
Dehydration Sign

We all know that proper hydration when exercising is necessary for combating additional sweat loss. However, we often ignore the vitality of staying hydrated during daily, low intensity activities, like driving. A recent study from the European Hydration Institute shows that dehydration may impact drivers to such an extent that driving mildly dehydrated could be comparable to driving drunk.

Although you may not realize it while sitting at your computer or attending a meeting, dehydration could be effecting your work performance. Experts say that if you begin to feel thirsty –chances are you are already mildly dehydrated. For those professionals whose jobs involve considerable amounts of driving, pay close attention to the findings of this study.

Researchers at Loughborough University discovered that dehydrated drivers made twice the amount of errors while driving than drivers who were properly hydrated. Driving for a two hour period, participants who did not stay adequately hydrated drifted in and out of lanes, hit the brakes too early or too late and drove over rumble strips more than twice the number of times as hydrated drivers. All of these mistakes are proven significant factors in car accidents.

Professor Ron Maughan of Loughborough University assessed the results of the study and concluded, “. . . drivers who are not properly hydrated make the same number of errors as people who are over the drink-drive limit.”

For someone with a half-hour morning commute, drinking fluid before driving may be a topic for debate, but truck drivers, delivery workers and other professionals who spend the majority of their days driving may turn down an extra cup of coffee to save time. Research has shown that only 20% of people have a non-alcoholic drink before driving. A popular reason for avoiding fluids before driving is not filling up on fluids presents a lower probability of needing a rest stop. For many professional drivers, time is money and not stopping to use the bathroom seems more profitable than not.

These professionals, not just drivers but those who operate vehicles of all kinds, should rethink the threat their lack of hydration poses to not only themselves but to other drivers, pedestrians and even their colleges. In 2012, Scottish bus driver, David Logue tragically struck and killed a fellow driver with his double decker bus after facing a black-out while at the wheel. Doctors determined dehydration the cause of Logue’s loss of consciousness.

Immediate symptoms of dehydration include thirst, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness and confusion. If you experience any of these symptoms, especially while driving, drink water as the most effective means of rehydrating.

To avoid dehydration and the accidents it can bring about always make sure you are properly hydrated before operating machinery or driving for extended periods of time. Our recommendation? Fill a large reusable water bottle when you start your day with ice and filtered water.  Check out our bottleless water coolers with large dispensing areas that make it easy to fill a large reusable bottle

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