It’s an accepted fact that drinking alcohol and driving is unwise and we shall, therefore, steer clear of that subject. But did you know that driving while dehydrated is just as bad? Formula 1 drivers know this and therefore, every car is fitted with a water bottle to keep them hydrated. Driving in a hot stuffy car on a warm day can have the same dehydrating effect, affecting your co-ordination and concentration levels.
Nutritionists say that by the time you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated. The best way is to keep drinking a lot of water. In any case, here are a few symptoms of dehydration you should be aware of while driving.
• Loss of focus.
• Eyes get dehydrated too.
• Feeling drowsy.
• Dry mouth.
• Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
• Slower reaction times.
• Muscle cramps especially when driving a manual.
Motorists tested by Loughborough University scientists found that when dehydrated, they committed twice as many motoring infractions as they did when hydrated. That’s because concentration and alertness were significantly reduced. Errors included drifting out of the lane as well as braking too early or too late.
Make sure you drink enough fluids (but not alcohol) before setting out on car journeys, even if it means taking regular toilet breaks along the way. As much as possible, avoid using the air conditioning as this can have a drying effect on the atmosphere.
If you do feel tired while driving, stop for a sugary drink to give you an energy boost or take a rest until you feel more awake. Over half of the motoring accidents worldwide are attributed to driver error and something as simple as forgetting to take a drink is a contributing factor. Stay hydrated behind the wheel.