Mild hypohydration increases the frequency of driver errors during a prolonged, monotonous driving task
journal contributionposted on 25.02.2016 by Phillip Watson, Andy Whale, Stephen Mears, Louise A. Reyner, Ronald J. Maughan
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The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of mild hypohydration on performance during a prolonged, monotonous driving task. Methods: Eleven healthy males (age 22 ± 4 y) were instructed to consume a volume of fluid in line with published guidelines (HYD trial) or 25% of this intake (FR trial) in a crossover manner. Participants came to the laboratory the following morning after an overnight fast. One hour following a standard breakfast, a 120 min driving simulation task began. Driver errors, including instances of lane drifting or late breaking, EEG and heart rate were recorded throughout the driving task. Results: Pre-trial bodymass (P=0.692), urine osmolality (P=0.838) and serumosmolality (P=0.574)were the same on both trials. FR resulted in a 1.1±0.7% reduction in bodymass, compared to−0.1±0.6% in the HYD trial (P = 0.002). Urine and serum osmolality were both increased following FR (P b 0.05). There was a progressive increase in the total number of driver errors observed during both the HYD and FR trials, but significantly more incidents were recorded throughout the FR trial (HYD 47 ± 44, FR 101 ± 84; ES = 0.81; P = 0.006). Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that mild hypohydration, produced a significant increase in minor driving errors during a prolonged, monotonous drive, compared to that observed while performing the same task in a hydrated condition. The magnitude of decrement reported,was similar to that observed following the ingestion of an alcoholic beverage resulting in a blood alcohol content of approximately 0.08% (the current UK legal driving limit), or while sleep deprived.
This work was funded in part by a grant from the European Hydration Institute (EHI).
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences