Are you driving while thirsty? It could be affecting your judgment. Nissan says that while the effects of drunk driving are well known, there's relatively little research on what dehydration can do to drivers.
A 2015 study funded by the European Hydration Institute and carried out by Loughborough University, UK, discovered that drivers who had consumed only a sip of water per hour made more than double the number of mistakes on the road than those who were properly hydrated. The dehydrated people displayed the same number of errors as those who were at the drunk driving alcohol limit.
Nissan also says that approximately two-thirds of drivers are unable to recognize the symptoms of dehydration – tiredness, dizziness, headache, a dry mouth and slower reaction times.
Drinking more water can help address the issue – a study in 2013 study by two universities revealed that people who consumed a pint of water before carrying out mental tasks had reaction times that were 14 percent faster than those who did not have a drink.
In order to help the issue, Nissan has worked with Dutch design brand Droog to install a state-of-the-art sweat-sensing coating called Soak into a Nissan Juke. By applying it to the CUV's steering wheel and front seats, the result is a simple yet effective alert system to warn drivers they need to drink more water.
Soak works by changing color when it comes in contact with perspiration – for example, on a person’s hands or clothes. When dehydrated the coating turns yellow, and when rehydrated it turns blue. The coating was originally created by Droog researcher and designer Paulien Routs.
Dr. Harj Chaggar, medical consultant for Nismo, said: "While many athletes are well-versed on keeping hydrated, many people outside the sporting sphere remain unaware of the impact of dehydration on physiological performance. Sweat-sensing technology built into a car is an innovative way of highlighting this, aiding prevention by warning the driver directly."
Nissan has no plans to install Soak in any of its production cars, so it seems you'll have to remember to have a drink on your own. Cheers.