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Physiol Behav. 2015 Aug 1;147:313-8. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.04.028. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Mild hypohydration increases the frequency of driver errors during a prolonged, monotonous driving task.

Author information

1
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK; Department of Human Physiology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels B-1050, Belgium. Electronic address: pwatson@vub.ac.be.
2
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK; Sleep Research Centre, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK.
3
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, UK.

Abstract

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±4y) 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 120min 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 body mass (P=0.692), urine osmolality (P=0.838) and serum osmolality (P=0.574) were the same on both trials. FR resulted in a 1.1±0.7% reduction in body mass, compared to -0.1±0.6% in the HYD trial (P=0.002). Urine and serum osmolality were both increased following FR (P<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.

KEYWORDS:

Cognitive function; Dehydration; Fluid balance; Road traffic accident

PMID:
25890276
DOI:
10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.04.028
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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