Driving When You Have Diabetes

A big concern for newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetics is how their disease will affect their driving. For those who are keeping their blood sugar levels in check and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, they need only to keep their disease under close scrutiny. But for others, Type 2 diabetes may mean the difference in whether they can keep their driving license or if it will have to be surrendered.

There are several driving issues directly associated with diabetes:

  • The main concern deals with the diabetic’s eyes. Since diabetes has the propensity to affect the eyes and overall vision, this can become quite hazardous when it comes to driving. The dangerous aspect of this is that vision can be easily affected even when the diabetic feels fine.
  • Another complication brought on by the effects of diabetes is dizziness. This is a dangerous condition while the individual is out driving in their car. Taking away a person’s equilibrium leaves them virtually helpless to operate a car.
  • A diabetic also has to watch out for signs of hypoglycemia. When such a dramatic drop in blood sugar levels occur, this can affect reaction time, vision, concentration and thought process. Although hypoglycemia does usually give somewhat of a warning as to its onset, it still puts the driver in a very dangerous situation.

But being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes does not automatically mean a suspension of your driving privileges. The only time this occurs is if you are diagnosed with certain medical conditions that make it unsafe to continue driving.

In order to maintain the right to stay behind the wheel, your best defense is a good offense. Keeping your blood sugar levels in line will not only give you an overall better quality of life, but at the same time it will ensure that you can maintain your freedom to drive. If your blood sugar levels do not remain within safe boundaries, it opens the door for a host of complications that can restrict your senses.

It is also recommended that anytime you are going to be driving you have all of your supplies on hand. That means:

  • insulin if prescribed,
  • a source of sugar like jelly beans or glucose tablets, and plenty of complex carbohydrates like fruit, dry biscuits or a sandwich, and, of course,
  • your portable glucose monitor.

If you are intending to drive long distances:

check your blood sugar before you drive, and take regular meal breaks

This should give you sufficient ammunition to deal with many of the diabetes related conditions that can happen while you are away from home. If you develop any signs of low blood sugar like:

  • dizziness,
  • shakiness,
  • headache or loss of concentration.

Pull over to the side of the road immediately and turn off the engine. Then measure your blood sugar and treat with sugar or carbohydrates. Wait until you have fully recovered before you start driving again.

You should also have regular eye examinations in order to distinguish when your eyesight is beginning to falter. Having a driver’s license gives you the right to drive, but it does not give you the right to put yourself, or others, in danger.

Leave a Reply