It’s Summer. Drink Water!
Here’s a riddle for you. What rhymes with safe driving? Hydration!
OK, not really, but it should. Because summer is not just the season for vacations, barbeques, and showing off your funky tattoos. It is also the season for car accidents. There are more car accidents in summer than any other season, including the gray, icy one. The reasons are varied, but statisticians generally agree on five culprits behind the phenomenon:
- Road work
- Increased traffic in vacation areas
- More teen drivers on the road
- More intoxicated drivers (beware the backyard barbeque)
How Dehydration Affects Driving
Let’s talk about number five, dehydration. In sunny, high altitude Colorado, dehydration comes easily. This is a problem, because studies show that even mild dehydration, a loss of 1% of the body’s water, can cause muddled thinking, mood changes and fatigue. These symptoms can influence you behind the wheel and you probably won’t even know it. Dehydration is sneaky. It can make you think you need a sugary soda, a less irritating commute, or a nap, when what you really need is water. Actual thirst usually doesn’t kick in until you are already 1.5% dehydrated. In other words, too late.
How much water is enough?
To find out, divide your weight in half. The number you get is the approximate number of ounces of water from all sources, including coffee, tea, and food, that your body needs on a typical day. If you weigh 200 pounds, that equals 100 ounces of water per day, which is about 3 liters.
And yes, three liters is… kind of a lot.
Ways to Hydrate!
But if that seems daunting, remember: water doesn’t have to be boring. It can be carbonated (but not sugared!) or infused with mint, cucumber, or strawberry. A gallon of spring water is a delicious, cheaper alternative to soda or juice. Even adding a single glass of water to your day will make a difference. After all, we could all use a little more mental and emotional clarity during these complicated times. Water helps your brain work. A hydrated driver is more alert, aware, and able to avoid accidents. So drink up!
Stay tuned for our next article, “Why Highway Rest Stops Should Never, Ever Be Closed.” Until then, remember this catchy rhyme: What rhymes with safe driving? Hydration!
Oh wait, that doesn’t… maybe it’s time for a glass of water.
Article by Molly Fuscher