When you head out the door, you probably have a mental checklist of the things you need to take with you. Your phone, your car keys, your driver’s license and your wallet are likely chief among them.
How about a drink of water? It sounds a little silly, but researchers have found that a dehydrated driver can be deadly behind the wheel of a car.
Researchers studied two groups of drivers. Each group was given a controlled amount of liquid during the previous day and on the morning of the driving test. The group that was given sufficient fluid — about 85 ounces the day before the test and 16 ounces that morning — drove normally, making only the normal quantity of mistakes on the road that you’d expect to see in any group of drivers.
The second group, however, was given just 25% of the fluid the first group received. The limited quantity was just enough to produce what researchers called a “very mild” state of dehydration — something that you’d normally experience (and probably not even notice) after a busy day.
That small difference produced some major results: The dehydrated drivers made twice as many mistakes on the road as the drivers in the control group. They were so bad, in fact, that the results were essentially the same as the ones produced by another study group that had been given vodka to drink.
Dehydration has been shown to impair a driver’s ability to concentrate, alter their moods, slow their reaction times and create other problems. Unfortunately, with the summer heat upon us, there may be many dehydrated drivers out there. If you end up in a crash due to another party’s negligence, find out more about your right to compensation for your losses.