Diabetes and driving
Diabetes is a complex condition which can affect the entire body. All drivers diagnosed with diabetes are legally required to notify the Registrar of Motor Vehicles of their condition. There are 2 categories of diabetes ? Type 1 (controlled by insulin/medication) and Type 2 (controlled by diet).
How can Type 1 Diabetes affect my driving?
Vision ? Diabetes can cause cloudy vision which is associated with high and low blood glucose levels. It is recommended that you have your eyes tested by a specialist once every 12 months to keep on top of any visual impairment.
Possible loss of consciousness ? if you have a severe hypoglycaemic episode while driving, it is possible that you may lose consciousness and control of your vehicle. If you experience one of these episodes, it is recommended that you stop driving and seek medical attention.
Numbness ? abnormal blood glucose levels can cause your feet or hands to become numb, which may impact on your driving ability.
What are the symptoms?
It is possible that a hypoglycaemic episode can occur without any warning signs. However, early symptoms of hypoglycaemia include:
What precautions can I take?
If you take insulin or medications that can cause hypoglycaemia (hypo):
- Check your blood glucose level before driving. Don't drive unless over 5 mmol/L
- Take your meter, hypo treatment (e.g. jelly beans) and carbohydrate snacks with you, even on short trips
- If you have a hypo whilst driving, pull over and turn off the car. Do not drive again until your blood glucose level returns to normal and you feel better
- On long trips, plan regular stops for blood glucose testing and snack breaks
- Wear identification that states your name, doctor and diabetes treatment
- If you think you have hypo unawareness speak to your doctor or diabetes educator to take steps to regain your awareness again.
How can Type 2 Diabetes affect my driving?
Drivers who have Type 2 diabetes should be fine to drive, provided the condition is being properly managed with healthy eating and regular exercise.
See the Diabetes and Driving booklet for more info: