3 amazing research findings about why you do need to drink when you drive
Next time you go for a long drive makes sure you don’t ignore keeping your fluids up. You may think you are saving time by drinking less and avoiding toilet breaks but you will be increasing your risk of errors and crashes.
- A 2015 study has found that mild dehydration creates a significant increase in driving errors.
- Dehydration increases your driving error because it reduces your alertness. Other symptoms of dehydration, such as headaches and dry eyes can cause discomfort and distract you from driving.
- Dehydration and the discomfort it causes has even been found to lower people’s mood!!
Driver error accounts for 68% of all vehicle crashes. The heating and air conditioning systems in cars dehydrate you because they recycle the cabin air to keep it dry. Keep a water bottle by your side so you stay hydrated.
The jerry bottle is the perfect companion for driving:
- It’s the perfect size to fit standard cup holders
- It’s safer than plastic bottles that can leach polymers into your water when left in a hot car
Be smart when you drive and take jerry with you
Want to know more?? Here’s the science part:
Name of study: Mild hypohydration increases the frequency of driver errors during a prolonged, monotonous driving task
Authors: Phillip Watson , Andrew Whale, Stephen A. Mears, Louise A. Reyner, Ronald J. Maughan
- Mild hypohydration has been shown to cause impaired cognitive function and altered mood.
- This study reports an increase in driver errors with mild dehydration.
- Error incidence increased over time, but occurred at a greater rate following fluid restriction
- Higher subjective feelings of thirst, as well as impaired concentration and alertness were also apparent
- Driver education programmes should also encourage appropriate hydration practices.
Quotes and references:
“… mild dehydration, induced through a short-term period of fluid restriction, produced in a significant increase in minor driving errors during a prolonged, monotonous drive, compared to that observed while performing the same task in a hydrated condition – The level of dehydration induced in the present study was mild and could easily be reproduced by individuals with limited access to fluid over the course of a busy working day”. Phillip Watson , Andrew Whale, Stephen A. Mears, Louise A. Reyner, Ronald J. Maughan; Mild hypohydration increases the frequency of driver errors during a prolonged monotonous driving task (2015).
Mild hypohydration can cause symptoms such as headache, weakness, dizziness and fatigue, and generally makes people feel tired and lethargic, with lower self-reported ratings of alertness and ability to concentrate: S.M. Shirreffs, S.J. Merson, S.M. Fraser, D.T. Archer, The effects of fluid restriction on hydration status and subjective feelings in man, Br. J. Nutr. 91 (2004)
As little as a 2% reduction in body mass due to insufficient hydration can also result in impaired cognitive function, with changes in mood state and modest reductions in concentration, alertness and short-term memory reported: A. Adan, Cognitive performance and dehydration, J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 31 (2012)
In addition to the established physiological consequences of hypohydration, the generally unpleasant symptoms of hypohydration (e.g. dry mouth, thirst, headache) may directly produce a negative effect on mood state: L.E. Armstrong, M.S. Ganio, D.J. Casa, E.C. Lee, B.P. McDermott, J.F. Klau, L. Jimenez, L. Le Bellego, E. Chevillotte, H.R. Lieberman, Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women, J. Nutr. 142 (2012)
In fact, some authors maintain that dehydration-associated impairment of tasks with a large cognitive component is driven primarily by the discomfort and distraction associated with these symptoms: S.N. Cheuvront, R.W. Kenefick, Dehydration: physiology, assessment, and performance effects, Comp. Physiol. 4 (2014)