Did you know that driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving?
You wouldn’t drink drive, but what about driving whilst dehydrated? A recent study has found that even mildly dehydrated drivers can make just as many errors as drink drivers. I’m sure you will find that surprising, just as we did. If you are dehydrated then you may make mistakes such as lane drifting, late braking, or crossing over a rumble strip.
The study used driving simulators with a group of men, once when they were sufficiently hydrated and again when they were slightly dehydrated. It was done to simulate real-world conditions, such as when you’ve had a particularly busy day and were unable to take breaks for drinks.
This slight dehydration was enough to significantly skewer their driving abilities. They made twice as many mistakes when dehydrated as when hydrated. This sharp spike in errors that could lead to driving accidents matched what Watson observed in his previous studies, when participants used the same simulator after downing 2.5 ounces of vodka.
Just like alcohol, “mild dehydration has been shown to reduce concentration, slow reaction times, impair memory recall, and produce negative effects on mood,” says Watson. “All of these factors can impact our ability to safely drive a motor vehicle.”
So don’t forget to…
Hydrate before you drive and don’t avoid drinking before a long trip to avoid bathroom stops.