Here's why too much tea, coffee while driving is bad for you


Heres why too much tea, coffee while driving is bad for you

46 per cent of UAE drivers choose coffee to stay alert.


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Tue 22 Aug 2017, 11:23 AM

Last updated: Wed 23 Aug 2017, 5:49 PM

Almost half of the motorists in the UAE grab a cup of coffee to help them stay focused and alert while on the road, but a recent study has warned of the potential dangers of relying too much on caffeinated drinks to enhance their level of alertness.

According to a research in the UAE conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Continental, a German technology and tyre brand, "46 per cent of UAE drivers drink coffee to stay alert and 13 per cent of respondents choose carbonated beverages to boost their attention; while 17 and 24 per cent prefer hot chocolate and karak chai, respectively."

Clinical dietician Dr Dana Al Hamwi, founder of Dr Dana Diet Centre (DDDC) at the Dubai Healthcare City, said: "Studies have shown that a cup of coffee or tea can be a 'quick-fix' for tired drivers. But caffeinated drinks shouldn't be relied upon to maintain focus and concentration when on the roads."

"Caffeine has no stimulation effect on the brain. Indeed, excessive caffeine consumption can cause symptoms such as irritability, nervousness, irregular or rapid heartbeat, muscle twitching and slurred speech. At the same time, drinks that are high in sugar content can actually lead to fatigue," Dr Al Hamwi continued.

Safety expert Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, added: "Coffee and energy drinks indeed have only a very little capacity to help. Only proper sleep can help. This is especially important in the context of heavy vehicle drivers."

Edelmann noted that "fatigue related accidents unfortunately play a big role in the commercial segment". He called on strict rules for maximum driving hours and mandatory rest and sleep times, just like in many countries around the world.

Arif Abdulkarim Almalik, director of Drivers Training and Qualification at the Licensing Agency of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) agrees. "Driving for long hours will definitely have adverse effects on one's performance. One can not escape fatigue or lose concentration," he said.
"Whenever you feel tired, don't drive. Coffee or any energy drinks are not the solution but it is your responsibility to ensure your safety as well as the others," Almalik emphasized.

Almalik shared his personal experience whenever he goes for a long drive. "When I feel tired, I always rest at the next petrol station. I relax for 15-20 minutes before I proceed to drive."
Continental's survey asked 1,002 UAE respondents about their habitual drink intake as well as what they felt the impact to be of not being able to consume their preferred drink. Of these, 27 per cent claimed not having their drink of choice left them tired and unfocused, with 24 per cent acknowledging it negatively impacted their levels of concentration.

Jose Luis de la Fuente, managing director of Continental Middle East, said: "There are many different elements that can play a role in road accidents, and the human factor is just one of these. This is why driver education is a key element of Continental's Vision Zero initiative. In undertaking this study, we wanted to better understand how the effect of consuming different drinks influences drivers in the UAE."

Here are important tips to stay alert and focused on the road:

According to RoadSafetyUAE, it is very important not to drive when someone is sleep-deprived. Sleepiness is not a matter of willpower but a biological need. 
> If you feel tired, pull over and have a power-nap, otherwise you may experience micro-sleeps (nodding off or unintended periods of light sleep that last a few seconds or several minutes ) which are dangerous while driving.

> Get enough quality sleep before you begin driving. Be sure to have 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep before your trip.

> While existing road safety guidelines remain a priority, the use of caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, could be a useful adjunct strategy in the maintenance of alertness while driving.

> The worst time to begin your trip is after work you will be tired already even though you do not realise it.

> Aim not to travel more than 8 to 10 hours each day.

> Take regular 15 minute breaks at least every two hours. Get out of the car, get some fresh air and some exercise.

> Share the driving if possible. Get your passengers to tell you if you look tired or if you are showing signs of tiredness.

> Eat well balanced meals at your usual meal times. Avoid fatty foods which can make you feel drowsy.

> No alcohol and medicines that can cause drowsiness.

> Avoid driving at night. The chances of crashing are much higher late at night and early morning.

> Playing music or fresh air will only have a short-term benefit in keeping you alert.

> The only cure for fatigue is sleep.

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