Saturday, May 2, 2015

Dehydration Driving as Bad as Drunk Driving?

     I ran across an interesting article about dehydration and its effects on people the other day.  It is something that we here in the tropics deal with every day.  You need to keep your water intake up every day or this will bite you for sure.  The warm temperatures and the humidity of the tropics cause your body to sweat out way too much liquid and leaving you dehydrated in a very short time, especially if you are at all active.  

     According to the study a dehydrated driver is just as dangerous as a drunk driver.  If you are mixing the dehydration with the excessive intake of alcohol, this could be double the trouble.

     As part of the study, a range of tests were carried out over two days on male drivers using a laboratory-based driving simulator. During the normal hydration test there were 47 driving incidents, but when the men were dehydrated that number more than doubled to 101. These errors included lane drifting, late braking and touching or crossing the rumble strip or lane line.   In fact, the number of errors made by dehydrated drivers was similar to that expected of someone driving under the influence of drugs or with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, the current UK legal driving limit.

     Professor Ron Maughan, professor of sport and exercise nutrition at Loughborough University who led the study, said: “We all deplore drunk 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 unrecognized danger and suggest that drivers should be encouraged to make sure they are properly hydrated.”

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     The truth of the matter is that we are mostly water in out physical make up, and we cannot afford to loos much of the volume of water before some very negative effects start to occur.   Whether you are drinking or not, it is really important to keep yourself hydrated, because you could be as dangerous to people around you as someone that has been drinking excessively.