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Guide to Diabetes

Driving Safely


Download our "Safe driving and the DVLA"  information Leaflet 2012


Here are a few safety tips and precaution advice to help you and your family/ colleagues plan a safe journey and avoid hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose or hypos) whilst driving. You can avoid having hypos while driving by incorporating these simple checks and precautions, being prepared and by follow these guidelines:


Always


  • Test your blood glucose levels before you drive they should be above 5.5 mmol/l. If it is below 5.5mmol/l you will need to eat a snack to raise your blood glucose levels before driving.

  • Plan your trips carefully to ensure your own and others safety

  • Always carrying sugar drinks, biscuits or fruit or sandwiches in your car for long journey  

  • Do not drive for more than two hours without checking your blood glucose you may need to stop and eat a snack to raise your glucose before you drive.

  • Plan regular stops for long journeys

  • Carry medical identification both on yourself and in the car. (stating you have diabetes)

  • Be prepared for traffic delays

  • NEVER drink and drive

  • If you are on insulin treatment carry your insulin with you.

Things to avoid and be aware of with Insulin


  • Avoid keeping insulin where it can get extremely hot ie. in the glove compartment or in the boot of the car. Invest in a cool box.
  • Hours of constant shaking - during long car trips may cause the insulin to clump or form a white layer on the inside of the glass container. Do not use insulin if this has happened.


You should not drive if you:


  • have difficulty recognising the early signs of your hypos
  • have problems with your eyesight that are not corrected with glasses
  • have numbness or weakness in your limbs
  • If you have had a heart attack, the DVLA recommend that you should not drive for four weeks afterwards. Some people may not be able to drive for months, only drive when you feel well enough.

If you are worried about any of the above points contact your diabetes team for advice. 

 

What to do if you are having the signs of a hypo whilst driving

 

  • STOP the car as soon as it is safe to do so and park safely
  • Take the key out of the ignition (this is to prevent any suggestion that you are under the influence of drugs whilst in charge of a car.)
  • Move into the passenger seat.
  • Treat your Hypo ie take glucose tablets, liquid glucose Lucozade, non – diet fizzy drink or sweets
  • Follow this up with some starchy carbohydrates such as a sandwich as soon as you can.
  • Check that your blood glucose levels has is above 5mmol/l
  • Wait at least 45 minutes after you feel better before driving


Remember:

If you do have a hypo whilst driving you could be charged with driving without due care and attention, or dangerous driving.
 

If you have had an accident whilst hypo, you should get legal advise and the support of your Diabetes Care Team. Diabetes UK- motor Insurance has advised members in this position previously and therefore can help. 


Documents

Safe Driving Information leaflet

Information produced by the Leicester diabetes department (2012) Download Document