Safe driving habits

The International Drivers Association is warning drivers of certain medical conditions that can potentially compromise their ability to drive safely.

Aside from more obvious conditions, such as epilepsy and dangerous vision impairments, less commonly regarded conditions that impair safe driving include debilitation sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy, cognitive impairments such as dementia, migraines which are more than just headaches, and inner ear disorders such as Meniere’s Disease, which affect balance.

Association expert Michael Bissona says having a driver licence isn’t just about skill, it’s also about health. “Narcolepsy is clearly one example. Unpredictable and strongly impacting all facets of life, narcolepsy is a neurological disorder resulting in an increased propensity for sudden, uncontrollable bouts of sleep. Imagine the potential disaster if such an episode occurs while driving,” he says.

Cognitive impairments are a broad category. “Progressively eroding the mental faculties, dementia in its advanced stages significantly distorts reality perception, making safe driving virtually impossible,” says Michael.

Migraines’ debilitating effects, often characterised by visual aura (flashing or shimmering lights, blind spots), vertigo, disorientation, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound, can make driving a car effectively and safely an arduous task. Michael says too often, people underestimate the driving implications of migraine attacks.

“A severe migraine isn’t just pain – it affects vision, concentration and reaction times.” He adds that vertigo, dizziness, tinnitus,
and the unpredictability of these symptoms also makes Meniere’s Disease a notable concern when it comes to safe driving.

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