We know full well that being in top form is essential for an activity like driving. Taking into account the things that can happen in a vehicle, it’s essential to have sharp reflexes and pay attention to our body before grabbing the steering wheel. We’re not referring to just the way drugs and alcohol can affect road safety, but to other ailments that we don’t usually associate with the highway but which have a direct influence on driving and health conditions.
All our senses are vital when getting into a car –and if you have some kind of impediment you should be extra cautious– but there are two less visible health conditions that can also influence driving and road safety.
What are they? One of them is diabetes, which can cause severe hypoglycemias or vision problems, ranging from cataracts or retinopathies. A study presented by Spain’s General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) finds that this situation increases the risk of having an accident by between 12% and 19%, because a drop in sugar levels causes a decline in psychomotor function.
Another road safety threat is hypercholesterolemia, having a high cholesterol level. This substance, which is related to heart attacks, should be closely monitored before stepping on the accelerator. Known as ‘The Silent Killer,” cholesterol causes high blood pressure that can result in thrombosis, stroke or heart attacks. This obviously calls into question one’s capacity to drive normally. That’s why these two diseases –along with other temporary factors like a lack of sleep, the state of one’s joints and muscles and even stress levels– can seem to be secondary. But when starting up a car engine, driving and health conditions are priorities that demand attention.