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Driving with Diabetes

It’s a teenage rite of passage-learning how to drive and getting your driver’s license. Your diabetes won’t keep you from getting a license, but it does mean you have a few more things to keep in mind than just how to parallel park.

Tips for Safe Driving

Here are some tips to keep you and others safe on the road:

  • If you take insulin, you are at risk for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar reactions) at any time. If this happens when you are driving, you must pull the car over to the side of the road right away and treat your low blood sugar (glucose) reaction. You should always carry rapid acting carbohydrates (glucose or sugar) and extra snacks in order to treat any low blood sugar reactions. Keep glucose tablets or other sources of carbohydrates with you and in your car at all time. 
  • If you have any trouble recognizing your symptoms of low blood sugars (which often happens in people who have very tight blood glucose control), you must check your blood sugar before you start to drive. This is also a good idea for anyone who is going on a long drive. If your blood sugar is under 80, treat it with 10 to 15 grams of carbohydrate, followed by a snack. This way, you can prevent serious low blood sugars while you are driving. 
  • It is important that you wear some form of medical identification (bracelet or necklace) to alert others that you have diabetes and use insulin. This could save your life if you have an accident and are unconscious. The medical rescue team will alert others that you have diabetes and may need sugar or insulin.
  • Don’t leave blood glucose meters, test strips or insulin in the car. Changes in temperature can damage them. 
  • Even without symptoms, you should check your blood glucose levels at regular times.

Remember too that taking care of your diabetes is an important part of being a safe driver. Routine medical visits every three months are necessary to stay healthy.

Congratulations and safe driving!

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Page last updated: December 22, 2014