For the most part you should be ok driving if you have diabetes. However, in some situations you may need to refrain from driving. If you’ve got diabetes, you need to be aware of the risks involved otherwise you will be a danger to yourself and others on the road.
One of the biggest risks is the possibility of having a hypo or hypoglycemic episode (low blood glucose levels) when driving. This is very dangerous and you need to be aware of the risks and how to minimize this from happening. Not all patients with diabetes have this risk but if you’re taking insulin or medications such as sulfonylureas that can cause low blood sugar levels, you need be very cautious. Additionally, if your blood sugar levels are high and uncontrolled, you also need to be very cautious.
If you are not sure if you are at a higher risk, talk to your doctor or speak to a Healthcare Advisor at the Dasman Diabetes Resource Hub Team (DDRH) hotline (222 60006).
You should not drive if you:
- Have difficulty recognizing the early signs of hypoglycemia.
- Have problems with your eyesight, which are not corrected with glasses.
- Have numbness or weakness in your hands and feet.
What Will I Do If I Feel a Hypo (Low Blood Sugar Levels) When Driving?
- Stop driving as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Remove the ignition key and move into the passenger seat.
- Immediately take a sugary drink (fruit juice) or sweets to treat a Hypo. Check blood glucose levels after 10-15 minutes, if above 4 mmols take a longer acting carbohydrate such as cereal bar. If still below 4 mmols repeat with a quick source of sugar and recheck.
- Call a friend or family member
- Do not drive before your blood sugar levels are back to normal; it may take about 45 minutes to an hour before your blood sugar levels are normal.
Also, high blood glucose levels could leave you feeling unwell or tired, and may affect your ability to drive safely. You should avoid if you blood sugar levels are high and uncontrolled.
- Be sure that you can recognize the early signs of hypoglycemia if you are on treatment that can increase this risk. If you cannot, discuss with your Diabetes Team.
- Check your blood sugar levels before traveling in your car and if travelling a long distance, recheck your blood sugar levels every two hours.
- Discuss with your doctor your target blood sugar levels while driving.
- Always carry short acting carbohydrate source like jelly beans, or orange juice, and long acting carbohydrate such as a cereal bar, or protein bar and your blood glucose meter in your car.
- Do not miss, or delay a meal or snack.
- Remember that changing a car tire or pushing a car could result in low blood glucose levels. Be prepared and eat a snack ahead of time.
- Carry identification both on yourself and in your car. You should identify that you have diabetes and how it is treated.
- For more information on Diabetes and Driving, call Dasman Diabetes Resource Hub (DDRH) on 222 60006 and ask our HealthCare Advisors.