Dangers of driving dehydrated revealed

At this time of the year there’s rightly a focus on drink driving, but did you know it’s also dangerous to drive whilst dehydrated?

Two in three (67%) drivers in the UK fail to recognise major symptoms of dehydration including slower reaction times, loss of focus and muscle cramps, potentially putting themselves and others at risk behind the wheel, new research shows.

Leading vehicle leasing company Leasing Options surveyed more than 1,000 drivers and found that more than half of motorists (58%) claim they are aware of the risks of dehydrated driving.

However, 55% drink less than the daily recommended amount of water and 43% still admit to not having a bottle of water with them on car journeys.

Health authorities recommend drinking around two litres of water a day, but Leasing Options found that 37% of those surveyed are only drinking one litre of water a day, with 18% drinking less than one litre a day.

Overall, 84% of drivers think drink driving is more dangerous than dehydrated driving, even though a recent study conducted by Loughborough University revealed that mild dehydration is equivalent to being over the drink driving limit in terms of driver errors.

To test their knowledge further, Leasing Options also asked drivers to identify which of the following were symptoms of dehydration…

Symptom of dehydration Percentage of drivers recognising dehydration symptoms
Headache 71.5%
Muscle cramps 37.7%
Dry skin/dry mouth 67.4%
Loss of concentration 59.3%
Loss of focus 47.1%
Slower reaction times 42.7%
Feeling faint 58.6%
Dizziness 52.9%
None of the above 2.6%

“When starting your car, ready for the morning commute, you may not think drinking an extra glass of water before leaving the house would affect your driving abilities, but you would be wrong,” said Leasing Options’ Mike Thompson.

“So, make it your prerogative and try carrying a water bottle in the car or have an extra glass of water at the beginning and end of your working day to avoid dehydrated driving.”