Whether you’re dealing with a new chronic diagnosis or are noticing new symptoms relating to an existing condition, your ability to stay safe on the road often correlates directly with your understanding, and address, of road-based risk factors. As well as being the only responsible way to stay safe on the road, making sure that you tick all the necessary safety boxes can also provide you with the confidence necessary to tackle any journey. Here, we consider a few simple ways to make sure that, whatever chronic condition you’re dealing with, it never has a chance to veer your driving, or your safety, off-course.
Always talk to your healthcare provider
Even if you think that your condition won’t affect your driving, there are sometimes surprising ways for symptoms to correlate with road-based risks. As such, talking things through with your healthcare provider before you get behind the wheel is essential, especially in areas like Utah where medical sign-offs are a licensing requirement.
Even if that isn’t the case in your state, your doctor is the best possible person to make you aware of the risks, and also adjust your treatment plan with road-based safety in mind. It’s also important to note that, if a doctor tells you they simply can’t see you driving safely, you need to take their word for it. You may feel like you’re in control, but chronic conditions can take even those of us who have dealt with them for a lifetime by surprise. If your doctor is advising you against this course of action, then rest assured they’ll have a good reason for doing so.
Seek comprehensive insurance
Insurance is fundamental for every driver and guarantees that, if the worst happens, you have the financial backing to pay for repairs. However, many insurers will have get-out clauses for things like chronic illness, especially if they deem that your condition caused the accident. Obviously, declaring your condition right away is the first step here, but small print in standard insurance contracts can still sting. Seeking comprehensive policies is a far better option because, even if they don’t specifically cater for chronic conditions, plans like no fault car insurance are far more likely to provide the coverage you need. Your road-based anxiety will certainly lessen knowing that you have this reassurance behind you.
Avoid driving with symptoms
Regardless of your condition or its particular manifestations, even mild symptoms or flare-ups provide clear warning signs that you shouldn’t get in the car and can include anything from pain in a localized area or high levels of anxiety, right through to vision problems, fatigue, and more. In each instance, it’s far better to take a little time and wait until you’re feeling more capable of tackling things.
This point can be especially hard to adhere to given that there is such a scope of symptoms across the chronic spectrum, and it’s all too easy for someone with say, diabetes, to assume that they’ll be fine to drive even if they’re feeling a little shaky. The reality, though, is that chronic conditions of all shapes and sizes have one thing in common, and that’s their need for immediate treatment, or self-care, as soon as things start to go downhill. If you’re behind the wheel, there’s no way you can ensure those essentials, and so there’s no question that you’ll be putting your health, and that of those around you, at risk.
Carry a medical ID
So far we’ve discussed how your chronic condition may directly affect your driving, but it’s also essential to note that, if you are in an accident, you need to guarantee treatment that keeps your condition or any medications that you’re taking in mind. Unfortunately, in extreme cases, often life-saving treatment will be administered at the scene and may do more damage than good if your condition isn’t known at this stage. That’s why anyone driving with a chronic condition should also carry a medical ID, which is readily available to buy online. These essential pieces of kit outline everything from your medical history, to your existing treatments, and any further points of interest about your condition. Keeping this either in your wallet, your dash, or your smartphone, makes it far more likely that medical professionals will treat you in accordance with your needs.
Chronic condition or not, the ease and freedom offered by driving are very much within reach. Simply keep these tips in mind to make sure that you’re as safe as possible while you get stuck in.
This is a collaborative post.