To say that Southern California has been going through some recent hot temperatures is an understatement. It is a full-blown heatwave. If you’re anything like me, you’re sweating out more water than you’re taking in. If that is the case, you could be just as much of a danger to the roads as drunk drivers.
Believe it or not, at least one study suggests this.
It goes without saying that hot weather causes us to feel lethargic. That lethargic feeling is our bodies telling us that we’re dehydrated and that, according to researchers, is what makes driving while dehydrated so dangerous.
In 2015, researchers at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom tested the driving skills of participants who were significantly dehydrated and slightly dehydrated. The participants consumed 85 ounces of fluid throughout the previous day, 16 ounces of water the morning of the test, and a mere 25 percent of that right before the study.
"The actual level of dehydration we produced in these men was very mild," says lead study author Phil Watson, PhD. "We wanted to simulate real-world conditions, such as when you’ve had a particularly busy day and were unable to take breaks for drinks."
According to the researchers, drivers why were dehydrated were twice as likely to make mistakes while driving. This result is similar to that when drivers drove while under the influence of alcohol. In fact, according to Watson, the results were similar to driving studies where participants had consumed 2.5 ounces of vodka.
Not only should you avoid driving drunk, but with the current weather conditions that we are experiencing here in Southern California, we also need to make sure that we hydrate before getting behind the wheel.