Something for all plumbers and heating installers who drive their own transportation to be aware of is some recent research by Loughborough University.
Over a period of two days, a variety of tests were carried out on male drivers using a driving simulator. In one of the tests, all the men were considered to be ‘normally hydrated’ and the results on the driving simulator showed there were 47 driving incidents.
However, when all the men were in a state of dehydration, the number of recorded driving incidents rocketed to 101 incidents. This figure is comparable to those under the influence of alcohol and drugs, with typical symptoms including late braking, lane drifting and running over into the hard shoulder.
The male volunteers visited the laboratory and used the driving simulator and carried out the same tasks when hydrated and dehydrated. The hydrated tests were undertaken when the men were given 200ml of fluid an hour. They were considered dehydrated when they were given only 25ml per hour and the difference in results were clearly very noticeable.
Over the last 40 years, government campaigns have successfully made drink driving socially unacceptable and society has become much more aware of the dangers involved. However, the effects of dehydration on the ability of drivers to safely control their vehicles is much less known and explored.
The state of dehydration in the tests conducted by Loughborough University were considered to be mild and very reflective of the fluid taken in by a plumber who has worked a busy day. With 68% of all vehicle crashes in the UK caused by driver error, it is unknown how many of these are caused by dehydration.
The general consensus is that plumbers should ensure that they are keeping well-hydrated by drinking around 2 - 3 litres of water per day, particularly during the summer months. Having a drink before a long journey and keeping a big bottle of water in the car would be advisable.
Not only would keeping hydrated help a heating installer focus on driving when out on the road, but it would also enable them to provide a better service when arriving at a job due to improved concentration, which is a win-win situation for all involved.
Article by Benjamin Clarke