Seven million people in Germany suffer from diabetes - at least. Experts believe that the number of unreported cases is much higher. According to their estimates, another three million Germans are diabetic without knowing it. Although the risk of accidents in diabetics according to studies is not greater than other road users. But this is only true if their disease is properly recognized and treated and the patients are also perfectly trained in diabetes management.
Danger in traffic
However, emergency physicians report time and again that they are called to accidents in which it has come for unexplained cause and without involvement of other road users to personal injury. Partly the cause of the accident is a hypoglycaemia of the driver, the so-called hypoglycemia. The triggering factors for hypoglycaemia include, for example, infections or excessive physical stress as well as simply dietary errors.
Too little sugar is problematic
It is already dangerous when the blood sugar level drops below 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg / dl) - normal levels are around 90 to 110 mg / dl in adolescents and adults. Because then the cells in the body no longer work properly and symptoms like
- Restlessness, trembling,
- Yawning, tiredness,
- Dizziness or concentration problems.
In extreme cases, seizures are possible. Uncertain driving, too late braking, unnecessary steering movements or even unconsciousness with loss of control over the vehicle can then result. But why does diabetics, who are well-adjusted by the doctor, even develop low blood sugar?
Normally, diabetes patients use mobile gauges and medicines like insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels almost perfectly. However, if drugs are inadvertently overdosed or diabetics eat too little, it can quickly lead to greater deviations from the ideal value.
Pay attention to the body while driving
To rule out any risk from the outset, is therefore true for diabetics: first measure blood sugar, then behind the wheel. But it is not enough with the fitness check in advance. If the trip has begun on holiday or perhaps only to the baker, diabetics should immediately stop after the recommendation of the German Road Safety Council (DVR) and the Association of emergency physicians operating in Bavaria at the slightest suspicion of hypoglycaemia and again check the blood sugar level.
The standard equipment in the vehicle therefore includes a mobile blood glucose meter or test strips, insulin, syringes, medications and the diabetic ID card. If hypoglycaemia is detected, diabetics must consume fast-acting carbohydrates such as glucose or sugary soft drinks such as cola. These should therefore always be at hand. Subsequently, slower meals (bread or apple) help bring the blood sugar level back to normal levels.
However, the ride may only be continued if all values are correct and the vehicle driver has fully recovered (at least 15 minutes break). Anyone who observes these rules as a diabetic and, for example, does not start immediately after strenuous physical work but eats something before, keeps the accident risk low. Otherwise, for diabetics as for all other road users: No alcohol at the wheel, drive defensively, avoid over-fatigue, take breaks.
Do not be afraid of driving license loss
Limited in terms of their ability to drive are diabetics whose insulin therapy is currently being switched or converted. For example, they may suffer from vision problems or circulatory problems and then pose a threat to road safety. Therefore, these patients should only be behind the wheel if the attending physician gives their consent - otherwise under some circumstances there might be insurance consequences in the event of an accident.
The DVR also advises diabetics to have their metabolism checked regularly. It makes sense to go to the doctor for supposedly healthy road users, but often suffer from mild vision problems, small attacks of weakness or great thirst. Because these are typical diabetes symptoms that need to be clarified.
Only those who know about their diabetes can adjust their behavior - and take the right measures if problems occur. If diabetes is actually diagnosed during the examination, the patient has little to fear from the legislator. Because he does not have to report the diabetes diagnosis of the driving license authority, nor threatens a driving license withdrawal.