Four things that can be just as dangerous as drink driving

July 11, 2018
Posted by: majid

You might not be drinking enough before getting behind the wheel !

We all know that driving with too much alcohol in our system is illegal and can endanger lives. But did you know that driving while dehydrated can have much the same effect on driving ability as a couple of glasses of wine?

In fact, you might not be aware that there are a number of things that can significantly affect your driving ability.

below are a number of common occurrences which can cause unnecessary danger while you’re driving and how to prevent them.

Driving while dehydrated

While many of us top up our oil, coolant and windscreen wash before going on a long journey, few of us consider our own fluid levels.

Driving in a stuffy car on a hot summer’s day can cause you to lose significant amounts of water. Being dehydrated affects your concentration levels and co-ordination.

The majority of UK drivers don’t know the symptoms of dehydration. These include:

  • Feeling drowsy
  • Loss of focus
  • Slower reaction times
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Muscle cramps

Drivers were put through a series of tests on a driving simulator by scientists at Loughborough University to assess the effects of mild dehydration on reaction time and performance, the results were startling.

They made twice as many minor errors when dehydrated as they did while hydrated – the same number as those who have been drink-driving.

That’s because concentration and alertness were significantly reduced. Errors included drifting out of the lane as well as braking too early or too late.

According to the Department for Transport, driver error is the biggest cause of road accidents in the UK, with 68% of crashes as a result of this.

What can be done to stay safe?

Health authorities recommend drinking around two liters of water a day, especially in hot weather.

Make sure you drink enough water before setting out on your journeys, even if it means taking regular toilet breaks along the way. Don’t overuse the air conditioning as this can have a drying effect on the atmosphere.

If you do feel tired while driving, stop for a drink that contains caffeine or sugar to give you a boost or take a rest until you feel more awake.

Taking hay fever medicine

With hay fever affecting an estimated 13 million people in the UK, many motorists will take some form of medication when pollen levels rise to try to relieve symptoms such as a runny nose and itchy eyes.

But some antihistamine tablets can cause drowsiness, nausea and blurred vision, as well as affect reaction times – all of which make you more likely to have an accident.

If you do cause a crash, you could end up with a criminal record. The police can ask you to do a ‘field impairment assessment’ and take a roadside test. If they think you’re not fit to drive, you’ll be arrested and could be prosecuted.

A conviction for drug-driving carries a minimum one-year driving ban and an unlimited fine. In extreme cases, you could receive a six-month jail sentence.

What can be done to stay safe?

Always check the label of any medication you take before getting behind the wheel. If in doubt, ask your pharmacist if it could affect your ability to drive. Some remedies are covered by the same drug-driving laws as cocaine and cannabis.

If your symptoms are mild, stick to nasal sprays and eye drops that won’t cause drowsiness. Keep windows closed, even when parked – if left open they can trap pollen in the car.

Drinking herbal teas

We all love a cuppa!, but did you know that some herbal teas can make you feel drowsy?

Herbs such as chamomile, lavender and valerian are known to have mild sedative properties to help you relax. So, while they may be good for helping you to sleep at bedtime, they’re not recommended for people who are about to get behind the wheel of a car.

Although there have been no reports of herbal teas causing accidents, they could potentially make you feel less alert behind the wheel, so drink normal tea and drive with caution.

What can be done to stay safe?

Those of you who like a brew in the morning before heading off to work should ideally stick to beverages with caffeine. Also, avoid adding honey. Honey has glucose in it, which research has shown hinders the production of orexin, a hormone that makes us feel awake and alert.


Many of us don’t think twice about driving home from the airport after arriving back from holiday! But driving while” jetlagged” is potentially dangerous as your body clock may be out of sync.

Travelling through several time zones can disturb your sleep patterns and make you feel less able to concentrate. The bigger the difference between time zones, the more likely it is that you could suffer from jetlag.

What can be done to stay safe?

If you’re travelling on a  long-haul through several time zones, consider getting a taxi to and from the airport so you won’t have to drive at all. Another option is to check into a hotel near the airport to get some shuteye before going home.

If you do drive home and start to feel sleepy, pull over at the nearest service station to get some food and drink. Caffeinated drinks such as coffee should perk you up. Eat something to give you slow-release energy, such as porridge, a banana or whole meal toast.

Be Safe …………..


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