Diabetes & Driving Disabilities & Driving Vision & Driving
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Heart Diseases & Driving Epilepsy & Driving Driver Checkup

Diabetes and Driving

Are there risks involved in diabetics?

Diabetes is a condition that has the potential to make driving less safe or unsafe. People with diabetes should be aware of the risks involved when driving.

What is Hypoglycaemia?

(low blood sugar or "hypo") This is your greatest risk. People taking insulin or tablets for diabetes (except Metformin) are at risk of low blood sugar levels which can greatly impair their driving and cause accidents.

What is Hyperglycaemia ?

(high blood sugar level). Blood sugar levels over 17 millimols are likely to leave you feeling unwell, tired and may affect your ability to drive safely. Avoid driving until you have your diabetes under control.

Can insulin dependent drivers drive?

People with insulin dependent diabetes are not normally allowed to drive taxis, heavy trade and passenger vehicle services.

What about the private vehicles?

If your diabetes is well controlled you will almost certainly be able to drive a private car. However, there are times when you may put yourself and others at risk if you don't take the following precautions.

What are the precautions while driving?

Always have meals and snacks before and during long journeys. It's safest not to delay meal times. Take regular short breaks from driving.
Check your blood sugar regularly. If you feel that your blood sugar is low, stop driving and treat with a quick acting sugar eg. three glucose tablets. Follow this up with a plain muesli bar (not recommended on a regular basis) or biscuits. Wait until the sugar has started to work before driving on.
Keep a supply of plain muesli bars, biscuits, glucose tablets, dried fruit and long lasting fruit juice in your pocket or in the glove box.
Do not delay treatment of a low blood sugar. The brain becomes confused when the blood sugars reach around three millimols. Be aware of your own warning signs. Although a mild hypo may not seem to impair your driving it's vital to act before your judgement is affected.
If you experience hypoglycaemia unawareness (hypos without warning signs), it may be unwise for you to drive. You should discuss this with your doctor.
Remember that changing a car tyre or pushing a car could result in low blood sugar levels. Be prepared!
Alcohol can cause hypoglycaemia or worsen its effects. There is no "safe" level of alcohol to drink. The best advice is to avoid driving after drinking alcohol. If alcohol is consumed it should only be taken with food and at least 12 hours allowed for the alcohol to be broken down before driving.

Can a patient with newly diagnosed diabetes drive?

If your diabetes has just been diagnosed and treatment is still being adjusted, you may be unfit to drive at this time. Blurred vision can be a problem. Check with your doctor.

What about the Long term complications?

Your driving ability could be affected by long term complications of diabetes, such as eyesight deterioration and the loss of normal sensation in your feet. Check with your doctor or diabetes nurse specialist.