New study claims driving long hours can lower people's IQ

By: Cobey Bartels

Cognitive decline linked to stress and fatigue caused by driving long hours

New study claims driving long hours can lower people's IQ
Study shows brain is comparatively less active while driving.


We all know how boring some stretches of highway can be, or how infuriating traffic is when you’re a professional driver with a load to deliver – a study out of the UK suggests these bugbears might actually be making you dumber. 

The study of more than 500,000 people looks closely at 93,000 of the participants who drive for more than two hours a day, finding that long stints behind the wheel could steadily reduce your IQ.

Medical epidemiologist at Leicester University and lead author of the study Kishan Bakrania told The Sunday Times a less active mind and factors such as stress could contribute to the mental decline.

"We know that regularly driving for more than two to three hours a day is bad for your heart," he said.

"This research suggests it is bad for your brain, too, perhaps because your mind is less active in those hours.

"Driving causes stress and fatigue, with studies showing the links between them and cognitive decline."

Bakrania said the results were similar to those of people that watched TV for more three hours daily, although computer use actually boosted intelligence.

"Cognitive skills were boosted in people who used computers up to two to three hours a day.

"When watching TV, your brain is less active, but using a computer is stimulating," he said.

Heavy vehicle drivers certainly have more to concentrate on than car drivers, so whether this study tells us much about truckies specifically isn’t known.

Do you think long periods of time on the road lower your IQ?

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