Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Driving Miss Diabetes

Living in Ontario, Canada the weather can be pretty iffy. You could easily leave your house on a nice winter afternoon, only to have to drive home in a nightmare of a snow storm.  We have been hit especially hard this year with a lot of snow, wind and overall awful road conditions.  I am sure, there are many other places around the world that are fighting with weather while driving, whether that is with flooding, snow, or high winds.

While this sounds like a blog post for the weather network, I assure you it very much relates to diabetes.    Driving with diabetes already comes with some pretty big responsibilities.  When you get behind the wheel of your car, you are responsible to obey traffic laws and also, try to make sure you get from point A to point B in the safest manner, no matter who you are.    But, what happens when we add in some obstacles that we are not prepared for, a low blood sugar on the highway? a traffic incident that has you sitting in your car for hours longer than expected? Being prepared in your car is super important!
Pre-Driving Selfie

1. Pack Low Snacks in the Car....Everyone's Car! 

Winter driving can be full of unexpected obstacles.  Traffic can slow down, to an almost stand still, making your one hour commute into two hours.   I highly suggest packing low blood sugar supplies in the car for any emergency situations.  This is also handy for those that drive with people who have diabetes, whether you're their partner or parent.   Being prepared is crucial because if you are stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and have no low supplies what would you do?

2.  Double Check, Triple Check, Quadruple Check! 

Have you ever left the house without some of your key supplies?  *raises hand...*   I am bad for this, but I am trying to get better, with the help of my partner who also tries to remember for me.    Before you leave the house check your diabetes bag to make sure you have some critical diabetes supplies, your meter (and all that goes with it), your pump/injections, a site, a syringe, and of course extra low supplies.  Of course if you're going away for the weekend the list goes on, but if you're just leaving for a few hours, then make sure you have what you need for that moment.   It's important to have these things on you because once again your travel could be delayed and you may require more test strips, injections etc. while waiting.       Better yet, keep some supplies handy in the car, like sites and a syringe.

3. Bring Your Phone/Keep it Charged! 

This is just good advice for everyone, but when you're driving, especially in the winter, you can run into unexpected accidents or awful traffic.  It's always good to be able to update the people that are waiting on you/know you're out.    If you happen to be stranded and need help, having a phone could really save you.    Hopefully you won't be calling for them to bring your low supplies (because you read this and prepared your car ;) ) But regardless, having a charged cell phone is key.

4. Check your Blood Sugar! 

Now I just sound like a Mom, but last one I swear.  Driving with diabetes does not have to be dangerous, you can easily check your blood sugar to give yourself an idea of where you're heading... do you need to eat a few extra M&M's - then do it!  I think a lot of people with type 1 have a good instinct and if your body is telling you something then you need to listen!  Remember that delayed traffic could push into your routine time you usually would be eating etc. which would heighten the risk of going low.

Hopefully this was helpful as many people are driving longer distances this time of year to see friends and family!


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