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Two-thirds of drivers fail to identify major symptoms of dehydration

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Around two-thirds (67%) drivers in the UK fail to recognise major symptoms of dehydration including slower reaction times, loss of focus and muscle cramps, potentially putting themselves and others at risk. 

With driver errors accountable for 68% of all vehicle crashes in the UK, drivers are being urged to take caution and ensure they are adequately hydrated before every journey.

Over half of the 1,000 drivers (58%) surveyed by Leasing Options claimed to be aware of the risks of dehydrated driving, but seem to be doing little to prevent it.

Health authorities recommend drinking around two litres of water a day, but vehicle leasing company Leasing Options found that 37% of those surveyed are only drinking one litre of water a day, with 18% drinking less than one litre a day.

Overall, 84% of drivers think drink-driving is more dangerous than dehydrated driving, even though a recent study conducted by Loughborough University revealed that mild dehydration is equivalent to being over the drink-drive limit in terms of driver errors.

London and Birmingham came out top for awareness of dehydrated driving, with 62% of London drivers and 67% of drivers in Birmingham stating they are aware of the risks involved.

The results also suggested that men are more aware of the risks involved than women, with 62% of men admitting to be aware in comparison to 55% of women.

Despite knowing the risks, 43% of drivers still admit to not having a bottle of water with them on car journeys.

To test their knowledge further, Leasing Options also asked drivers to identify which of the following were symptoms of dehydration:

Symptom of dehydration

Percentage of drivers who recognised as a symptom of dehydration



Muscle cramps


Dry skin/dry mouth


Loss of concentration


Loss of focus


Slower reaction times


Feeling faint




None of the above


Mike Thompson, brand manager at Leasing Options, said: “At Leasing Options we pride ourselves on our safety measures and we think British drivers need to be more aware of the risks and symptoms of dehydrated driving in order to make our roads a safer place.

“When starting your car, ready for the morning commute, you may not think drinking an extra glass of water before leaving the house would affect your driving abilities, but you would be wrong.

“So, make it your prerogative and try carrying a water bottle in the car or have an extra glass of water at the beginning and end of your working day to avoid dehydrated driving.” 

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  • Tony Donnelly - 14/10/2015 11:13

    As a 20,000 miles per annum driver - I do not drink the recommended 2 litres of water per day - for two reasons -the time it takes to stop and get rid of the fluid and the availability of facilities if you are off the main road network.

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