Rakesh, a 42 years old marketer who has type 2 diabetes, never made it to the diner to till 10 pm, as he worked in Manesar, Haryana and lived with his family in Delhi.
He daily had to commute at least 60 km one side to reach the organization he worked for. Since years he was driving 3-4 hours on a daily basis. One day, as he drove through Gurgaon, he experienced sudden anxiety, restlessness, dizziness and was feeling extremely exhausted to drive home.
He pulled his car to the side near Delhi cantt, where some traffic police were present. Somehow, he asked a pedestrian for help and with his help they contacted the police.
Initially, police were suspecting that he may be drunk, but in faint voice Rakesh muttered that he is diabetic. He told that I have diabetes since last year but I have not experienced such symptoms. The police contacted the ambulance. And then the attendants in the emergency vehicles managed his case.
This may be a case of Rakesh who is living with diabetes in the past 1 years but I am sure there may be a lot of people with diabetes who have to go through all this.
Let’s understand what might have happened:
People with diabetes experience sudden dips in blood sugars, also known as hypoglycemia. This may sometimes have confusions, loss of consciousness, vision disturbances, delayed responses etc. On the contrary, people with diabetes may experience eye problems, neuropathy in feet, that may affect ability to feel the clutch and brake. This may impact driving and may lead to dangerous consequences also.
According to a study, people with diabetes who drive have 12-19% higher risk for motor vehicle accidents. It is generally seen that most accidents related to diabetes complications happen to a small group of people with type 1 diabetes, who need to take insulin and also people with type 2 diabetes who are at high risk.
Most of the people who drive on daily don’t even check their blood sugars before driving. They are totally unaware of the dangers that driving can bring in, if one has diabetes. Sometimes, if one experience symptoms of hypos, he or she can avoid driving on that day, but milder symptoms sometimes get ignored.
The problem here is people don’t know about the relation of driving with diabetes.
The responsibility of a person who is driving is not only his life, he has to ensure that there is no collateral damage also. This means safety of other people on the road should be a priority.
Following are simple tips that people with diabetes should follow while driving:
- Check blood glucose before going for drive
- Avoid delaying or missing meals on the day of driving
- Always keep healthy snacks and sugar sachet or glucose tablet handy
- Take short breaks on long drives
If you feel any warning signs of hypoglycemia like sweating, diziness or blurred vision then stop the car at an appropriate place. People with diabetes should know how to recognize physical signs of low blood sugar and treat it. If you are not able to manage it then talk to your health care provider immediately, ask for help or call an ambulance.