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Scientific Study: Dehydration & Driving

Mild hypohydration increases the frequency of driver errors during a prolonged, monotonous driving task

Dehydration & DrivingOne of the research studies presented at the EHI Hydration Network Meeting explores the impact of mild dehydration on driving.

This study, conducted by Loughborough University, was published online in Physiology and Behavior in April 2014.

The study has revealed that even mild dehydration is equivalent to being over the drink driving limit in terms of driver errors.

Researchers at Loughborough University carried out a range of tests over two days on male drivers, using a laboratory-based driving simulator.

During the normal hydration test there were 47 driving incidents, but when the men were dehydrated that number more than doubled to 101 – a similar number to what might be expected of someone driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  These included lane drifting, late braking and touching or crossing the rumble strip or lane line.

Professor Ron Maughan, Emeritus Professor of Sport and Exercise Nutrition  at Loughborough University and Chair of the European Hydration Institute Science Advisory Board, who led the study 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”.

Click here to read the full research study paper.
A full press release on the driving study can be found here.