Many people working „behind the wheel”, especially truck drivers, forget about drinking the right amount of fluids. However, dehydration can have serious consequences. One of the Japanese manufacturers equipped their vehicle with a „smart” material which detects sweat. Coating on the steering wheel and front seats is a simple but useful way to warn the driver and remind them that they should drink some water.
Recently, as part of the „Beverage, the best fuel” campaign the Spanish automobilklub reminded that dehydration increases aggressiveness of drivers by 66% and reduces their concentration by 27%. Due to being dehydrated by one-third drivers are more likely to go off the lane and the fatigue appears in them in half the usual time – we read in „Diario de Transporte”.
According to the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority, healthy adults should drink an average of 2-2.5 L a day (for mild temperatures and average physical activity).
Many of us reach for water only after they start feeling thirsty. Thirst, however, is already the first sign of dehydration. Concentration, memory, alertness and reaction time depend on the level of water in the body. If you are on the road, always have a bottle of water at hand – advises Patrycja Rubik from the Truckers Life Foundation.
Properly hydrated organism prevents headaches which occur most often due to dehydration. When you are tired while on the road regularly drink water instead of an energy drink.
What’s more, water helps reduce stress, regulates body temperature and cleanses the body of toxins. It also allows for absorption of nutrients, provides minerals and regulates blood pressure. Without sufficient amounts of water the human body cannot function properly – Stresses Patrycja Rubik.
Sports technology will serve drivers
The fact that dehydration can be dangerous is also reminded by car manufacturers who even suggest specific actions. The technology is here to help. Surprisingly, it is all about material science. Nissan, inspired by solutions which help people care for their health and fitness in sports, suggested using the advanced „smart” materials in the automotive industry. A cooperation was established with a Dutch brand Droog, specialising in industrial design. Paulien Routs, a researcher and designer working for Droog, created the SOAK coating. – I’ve developed SOAK for use in sportswear – says Routs.
The material was used to cover seats and the steering wheel in one of Nissan models. The SOAK coating works in a simple way. It changes colour on contact with moisture (e.g. on the hands or on clothes after an intense workout). Dehydration is indicated with yellow. Blue colour means that you are sufficiently hydrated.
– Many players understand the need for hydrating their bodies but many people from outside the world of sport do not realise the effect of dehydration on physiological performance. The sweat detection technology in a car is an innovative way to pay attention to this issue, as well as to prevent it more effectively by warning the drivers directly – explains Harj Chaggar, Nissan’s medical consultant.