Driving Safety: Hydration
For delivery drivers in the summer months; hot, humid and hard-working conditions are a fact of life. Without easy access to fluids, drivers can become dehydrated, which is a prime cause of heat illness. In addition to the health benefits of proper hydration, drivers who hydrate correctly are more comfortable, cool and alert — making for a more productive, safer and healthier team.
Replacing body fluids lost during sweating, therefore, is the single most important way to control heat stress and keep drivers comfortable, productive, alert and safe. Some tips:
• Drink before, during and after physical labor to replace body fluid lost in sweating.
• Anticipate conditions that will increase the need for water, including high temperature, humidity, protective clothing and difficulty of work.
• Keep in mind that by the time you are thirsty, you are already about 2 percent dehydrated. Once you are dehydrated, it’s difficult to make up for that lost hydration.
• Drink 5 to 7 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes to ensure proper hydration.
• Keep individual containers of cool, clean water within easy reach.
• Drink cool water, 50 to 59 degrees, which is absorbed more quickly by the body than warm or very cold fluids.
• Try carbohydrate/electrolyte drinks to help avoid heat cramps that can occur up to several hours after working.
• Avoid coffee, tea or soda, which act as diuretics, further depleting the body of fluid. Never drink alcohol while working.
When drivers are properly hydrated, they are healthier, safer and more productive, no matter what the weather or working conditions.