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Dehydrated driving compared to drunk driving for truck drivers

Ironically, for truck drivers not drinking enough is as dangerous as drinking too much.

Confused? The answer to this riddle is hydration. Proper hydration is necessary to keep your brain able to make good judgments and operate the vehicle. A new study suggests that dehydration impairs truck drivers as if they have been drinking alcohol, Fleet Owner reports.

Researchers in the U.K. used a driving simulator to test male driver's abilities. Those at normal hydration levels made 47 driving errors. When the volunteers were mildly dehydrated, they committed 101 errors, doing things like drifting out of their lane, sometimes over the center line, and braking too late.

Truckers are thought to be especially vulnerable to dehydration. Many drivers, under time pressures, deliberately avoid drinking water to minimize bathroom breaks. Hours in the trucks's air conditioning and large amounts of caffeine may also contribute to dehydration.

For those concerned that their mental abilities might be affected, signs of mild dehydration include:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or fatigue
  • Decreased urine output
  • Dry skin
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

The color of your urine is perhaps the most objective way to tell whether you are dehydrated. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine usually means dehydration. Clear or lightly colored urine means you are fine.

Truck driving is a potentially dangerous job. Truckers can suffer injury in a crash, or they can develop chronic conditions after years of performing their duties. Injured truckers may qualify for workers' compensation to help them pay their medical bills, make up for lost wages and other expenses.

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