DRINK and DRIVE with at least 2 litres..... of water.
We all know the devastation driving with alcohol in the system can cause to lives. However did you know that driving whilst your dehydrated can have a dramatic effect on reaction times and driving performance. Drivers were put through a serious of tests by scientists at Loughborough University to asses this and the results were dramatic.
Professor Ron Maughan, Emeritus Professor of Sport and Exercise Nutrition at Loughborough University and Chair of the European Hydration Institute Science Advisory Board led the study. He said: “We all deplore drink driving, but we don’t usually think about the effects of other things that affect our driving skills, and one of those is not drinking and dehydration.
“There is no question that driving while under the influence of drink or drugs increases the risk of accidents, but our findings highlight an unrecognised danger and suggest that drivers should be encouraged to make sure they are properly hydrated.
“To put our results into perspective, the levels of driver errors we found are of a similar magnitude to those found in people with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, the current UK legal driving limit. In other words drivers who are not properly hydrated make the same number of errors as people who are over the drink drive limit.”
The errors recorder included braking too late or early as well as drifting across lanes.
The symptoms of dehydration include
Loss of focus
Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
Slower reaction times
Health authorities recommend drinking around two litres of water a day. We are all very good when going on long journeys making sure we top up the oil, windscreen wash and coolant, but we forget to make sure we are functioning properly, so keep drinking water. Most people avoid drinking before long journeys to avoid toilet stops. A toilet stop helps as you stretch your legs and get fresh air. If you are feeling tired, stop and get a sugar drink or a drink that contains caffeine. Then relax, until you feel alert enough to carry on your journey.
Other things you may want to be mindful of whilst driving
Hayfever medication can cause drowsiness that in turn can reduce reaction times as can other types of medication. Always ensure you read the guidance notes that come with any medication.
One we never even thought about, drinking herbal teas. Herbs such as lavender and chamomile have mild sedative elements so we can relax, not a great combination when driving.
We hope you found this informative