Dehydrated-Driving as Dangerous as Drink-Driving, Says Uni Study

By Gary Cutlack on at

If you've not had a cup of tea for 45 minutes you may be just as lethal behind the wheel of a car as someone who's been on the booze for the last 72 hours, with a study suggesting that dehydration has a similar debilitating effect on driving abilities to a small amount of alcohol.

Researchers from Loughborough University have made the shock comparison, claiming that drivers who'd been limited to just 25ml of water an hour -- about an ice cube's worth -- made double the number of mistakes on a driving simulator as their fully rehydrated peers. That puts the mistake-making count into the same bracket as those who are behind the wheel having had the legal limit of alcohol.

The report concludes: "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 said: "There is no question that driving while under the influence of drink or drugs increases the risk of accidents, but our findings highlight an unrecognised danger and suggest that drivers should be encouraged to make sure they are properly hydrated." [Loughborough University via Independent]

Image credit: Cups of tea from Shutterstock