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Driving with Diabetes: Accident Risks and How to Navigate These

According to the most recent statistics, more than 100 million Americans suffer from diabetes or have pre-diabetes.   In Georgia, almost 1.2 million people suffer from diabetes, and an estimated 241,000 have diabetes but don’t even know it.

Suffering from diabetes can place a driver at risk for certain symptoms that can increase their chances of being in an accident.  A person who suffers from diabetes may suffer from sudden low levels of blood sugar that can cause symptoms such as disorientation and confusion. This could trigger a potentially devastating medical emergency at the wheel.

Clearly, there are many motorists in who are driving under the ever-present risk of having a medical emergency at the wheel.   Persons who suffer from diabetes may continue to drive, but it is important for them to understand if their symptoms are so severe that it could impact their safety and increase their accident risk. No one suggests that diabetics avoid driving. However, as with several other medical conditions, it is important for you to know if your symptoms are so severe that they could possibly cause you to black out or become disoriented.

According to a new study, a checklist that tells diabetics whether they should be driving or not can prove very helpful.  The study reveals that some diabetics have a much higher accident risk while driving compared to others. For instance, if you have already suffered a serious event involving low blood sugar while driving in the past, or find it challenging to manage hypoglycemia, or if you are simply a person who drives a lot, you may be at a higher risk of experiencing a medical emergency at the wheel. Further, if you suffer from diabetic neuropathy, or the loss of feeling or sensation in the limbs, you might not be able to effectively press the brake or gas pedals while driving, thereby increasing your risk of an accident.

The research team developed a test, called the Risk Assessment of Diabetes Drivers, which has 11 questions that are specifically designed to help diabetic patients tell whether they are at risk of an accident while driving. The test was administered to more than 500 drivers who suffered from type 1 diabetes. The researchers were able to able to accurately identify more than 61% of patients with a high driving risk, and 75% of those who had a low driving risk.

If you suffer from diabetes, learning how to manage hypoglycemia, and maintaining a car toolkit that includes a blood sugar meter at all times can help reduce the driving risks associated with the condition.  This could improve not only your chances of avoiding an accident but also from suffering a medical emergency at the wheel.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.