New research suggests that driving while dehydrated is equally as destructive as driving while drunk. Drivers who had consumed alcohol over the legal limit as well as drivers who were dehydrated made twice as many driving mistakes as those who were hydrated.
The Telegraph reports that not drinking enough water can cause drivers to make more mistakes, increasing their chances of a collision. The study revealed that drivers who had only had 25ml of water an hour made more than double the number of mistakes on the road than those who were hydrated – the same amount as those who have been drink driving.
Professor Ron Maughan, Emeritus Professor of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, who led the study at Loughborough University, 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 incapable through 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.
Dehydration can also result in impaired mental functioning, changes in mood, and reductions in concentration, alertness and short-term memory, say the researchers who carried out the first study into dehydration, driving errors and accident risk.
My opinion? Although I don’t want to minimize the impact that DUI has on its victims and society, let’s keep our information in perspective. Along with the above study, numerous other studies performed by the the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute suggest that eating, talking on a cellphone and/or texting while driving is just as distracting – if not more distracting – than driving while under the influence of intoxicants.
Now, research suggests that dehydration – being thirsty – creates the same physiological symptoms among drivers that intoxicants do.