Spotting Signs of Dehydration when Driving

Spotting Signs of Dehydration when Driving

Dehydration? You? Never! If you feel thirsty while you’re out on a courier job you’ll just have a quick swig of the old Cola or H2O, right? Well, it might surprise you to know that by the time your mind (or your mouth) tells you it’s time to wet the whistle, your body could actually already be dangerously dehydrated without you even knowing.

A Couple of Dry Stats

Let’s get this clear, by ‘dry’ we certainly don’t mean boring… Get ready for a shock.

  • Stat 1: it’s been revealed that close to 70% of drivers in the UK don’t know how to identify the signs of dehydration.

Are you sitting down? Because here’s the kicker.

  • Stat 2: a study has revealed that dehydrated drivers are similarly impaired (in terms of mistakes made) as those affected by alcohol.

Dehydration: The Low Down

Now we’ve got your attention, the job is to keep it. Stay with us, though, because the topic is extremely important to anyone who makes a living out on the road – even if it’s just the odd courier job. If it’s your full time gig, it’s even more vital.

The Effects

Lack of hydration leads to poor concentration and, when you’re in charge of a vehicle, little slip-ups can lead to big problems. Here’s what can happen:

  • Your reaction times can become drastically impaired
  • You can begin to ‘drift’ between lanes
  • You may brake early, late or unnecessarily
  • You can lose awareness of other vehicles around you

The Signs

So, if feeling thirsty is not the best gauge of your hydration status, what is? There are many tell tale symptoms, and not all of them are obvious:

  • A dry, papery mouth and tongue (ok, this one probably is obvious)
  • Cramping in muscles (legs, fingers, toes)
  • Feeling fatigued
  • A ‘fuzzy’ head, not feeling alert
  • A slump in your mood
  • Dark and cloudy urine (it should be pale, almost clear if you’re adequately hydrated)

The Solutions

If it all sounds a bit grim, take heart – because staying hydrated really doesn’t have to be a chore. Take these tips on board your next courier job, and it’ll be easy to stay within the safe levels of hydration:

  • Make it a habit to load up on liquids before you start to drive; this can also be in the form of fruit
  • Make sure you always have a few bottles of water in your van to sip
  • Factor in regular stops so you don’t make excuses to evade having to go to the toilet
  • Get your two a day – two litres of water, that is (and make it non-negotiable)

It really couldn’t be easier, so there’s really no excuse.

When you work out on the road, staying healthy and hydrated can definitely be a challenge, but it should be your top priority. What other tips have you got to share in terms of staying in peak condition?

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