How to drive a car safely

The licensing agencies are trying to ensure you are safe on the road. They will be concerned if you are unable to recognize or self-treat your hypos.

If you are on insulin, check your blood glucose within 2 hours before getting behind the wheel and every two hours whilst driving.

If you hold a Group 2 license and take non-insulin medication which may cause a hypo you should check your levels at least twice per day at times relevant to driving. The results should be recorded on the meter memory.

Safe driving tips

  • Avoid delaying or missing meals and snacks
  • Take breaks on long journeys
  • Always keep hypo treatments to hand in the car
  • Do not drink alcohol and drive
  • Many of the accidents caused by hypoglycemia are because drivers have continued to drive, ignoring their hypo warning signs (e.g., hunger, sweating, feeling faint).

If you have a hypo whilst driving:

  • Stop the vehicle as soon as possible
  • Switch off the engine, remove the keys from the ignition and move from the driver’s seat
  • Take some fast-acting carbohydrate, such as glucose tablets or sweets, and some form of longer-acting carbohydrate.
  • Do not start driving until 45 minutes after blood glucose has returned normal.

If you have poor warning signs, or have frequent hypos, you should probably not be driving because of the risk to yourself and others. Discuss this with your doctor. If he advises you to notify the DVLA/DVA you must do so. If you fail to do this, your doctor has an obligation to do so on your behalf.

Motor Vehicle Insurance

When applying for motor insurance you must declare you have diabetes even if you are not asked about this. You should also inform your insurance company of any changes to your condition or treatment. Failure to do so, or failure to notify DVLA/DVA where required, could mean you are not covered. If you feel your premium is too high it is worth challenging your insurer. Insurers can only refuse cover, or charge more if they have evidence of increased risk.