LETTER: Drink water to improve your driving

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THE Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is anxious to offer the following advice to drivers about the effects of dehydration and drowsiness while driving.

A recent study by Loughborough University revealed drivers who only have 25ml of water an hour made more mistakes on the road.

As a result, motorists should avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water.

Also, keep a bottle of water with you, but make sure you have stopped in a safe place before you have any food or drink.

If you are going to be on the road for more than two hours be prepared to take a 15-minute break, even if you think you don’t need the rest.

You should also avoid driving straight after eating a heavy meal, you will only end up feeling lethargic.

Try and get a good night’s sleep the day before your journey to prevent you from feeling tired before you set off – especially if you plan to set out early in the morning or late in the evening when you’re less likely to be naturally alert.

Driving when you would normally be asleep greatly increases the risk of a sleep-related crash.

Avoid using your cruise control on the motorway when you are feeling tired – the less control you have of your car the higher the likelihood of you dosing off.

If you are feeling tired or sleepy, head towards the nearest service station and have a short nap. Remember, if your car has not broken down you must not stop on the hard shoulder.

Sharing the drive is always a good idea especially on longer journeys – the chances of you feeling tired will be significantly reduced.

People give a lot of consideration to the influence of alcohol and drugs on driving; but virtually no thought at all to dehydration.

A driver’s reactions and response rates can be severely affected if they are not hydrated properly – don’t let this easily fixable thing ruin your journey.

Peter Rodger,

IAM’s chief examiner.