Recently I started learning to drive, and although it is tremendous fun, there are some concerns for drivers with diabetes.
- Firstly, when I sent off to get my provisional licence from the DVLA I made sure to tell them I was diabetic, which meant that I got a 3-year licence instead of the usual 10 years. They had to write to my doctor enquiring about my level of health and the number of times I had been submitted into hospital. Unless your diabetes has become quite so bad as to be submitted into hospital fairly frequently, then you should have no problems getting your licence.
- Getting insurance is now a fairly simple process, as insurers no longer ask if you have diabetes. This is because it is proved that drivers who have diabetes are no more of a risk than drivers without. Although, some insurers still do ask, so do give them the correct answer.
- One of the most vital things about driving is to ALWAYS keep food, blood sugar tester and glucose in the car. This is so vital and important, because you need to be prepared to sort yourself out at the very FIRST signs of hypo/hyperglycaemia. You ought not wait 10 minutes to find a petrol station for a chocolate bar, because your low will get worse and you will have to wait longer to recover before continuing your drive. Pull over at the first signs.
- Test your sugar level before and every hour during a long journey. This is especially important for those with poor control, as your sugar levels can fluctuate quite rapidly. Also, if you can see your sugar level is going up or down you can treat it before it becomes a real problem.
- Do not drive if you feel ill or wobbly. I have (accidentally so) driven whilst going low and going high. I can safely say that it is NOT a good feeling. In both instances - high and low - ones perceptions and control over the vehicle are very limited. Plus, because going low is very similar to feelings experienced when drunk, it is in fact illegal to drive whilst you are in this condition.
Overall, check your level and make sure the DVLA and your insurers know you are diabetic. This way you and other road users are SAFE. Enjoy driving!!
Diabetes and Driving