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Driving While Dehydrated

May 6, 2015

In observation of Global Road Safety Week May 4-10, we have decided to share some information about a topic recently studied in the UK involving the dangers of being dehydrated while operating a motor vehicle.

Have you ever been driving and realized you were so hungry you ignored all rules of the road? You wanted to let that car in front of you know that just one mile-per-hour faster would keep you from shriveling? The hunger struggle was so bad that you felt like a completely different person and you did not even recognize yourself.

The driving force behind your hunger craze is a survival mechanism. Since your body cannot function without food, it makes sure you know when to eat - however unpleasant and overbearing those signals may be.

Unlike hunger signals, which are very painful and physical, our bodies also send less recognizable signals that tell us when to drink. Since dehydration effects start in the brain, these signals are often subtle at first, in the form of a headache or chapped lips, then lead to tiredness, nausea and other more serious symptoms. Unfortunately, most people do not know how to understand these signals until they become more severe. What’s worse is many people ignore the signals and do not recognize the dangers because sipping water is not so desirable nor enjoyable, and sugar-sweetened or caffeinated beverages, although tasty, will only make dehydration worse.

The UK study shows that drivers who were mildly dehydrated drove just as badly as intoxicated drivers who blew the legal limit for blood alcohol level. Scientists at the University of Loughborough determined that dehydrated drivers made twice as many mistakes as hydrated drivers including drifting between lanes, crossing the white line, and having delayed braking. Interestingly, these drivers were only mildly dehydrated, perhaps no more than a person would be at the end of a normal workday if they drank only a limited amount of fluids throughout the day.

 

Source: Read the original article at Yahoo News - Driving while dehydrated.

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