Driving with diabetes requires proper monitoring and management for an incident free road experience.
Why is this? Firstly, the high speeds cars travel at combined with multiple road users means that driving always involves some risk. Secondly, when it comes to diabetes, there’s the added risk of complications like hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) and eye problems.
These complications make driving more dangerous, but they can be prevented.
But before we go on, what is diabetes? Apart from something that affects around 1.7 million Australians. And something you need to inform your car insurer about.
We get energy from glucose, which we get from food. Nearly all the food we eat has some form of glucose (or sugar) – even milk and bread have glucose. Once that sugar is in our bodies, it’s converted into energy by a hormone known as insulin.
Sometimes our cells don’t react to insulin properly, or we don’t have enough insulin. Then we end up with too much pure glucose and not enough energy. So much unprocessed glucose makes our blood sugar level too high. This is called diabetes.
If blood sugar levels are high for too long, this can damage your eyes and organs. Which will have an affect on your ability to drive safely.
Depending on your needs, your doctor will prescribe a range of treatments. Some of these treatments are:
- regular exercise
- regulating your diet
Medication lowers blood sugar levels. If these levels become too low, this causes hypoglycaemia which can make you feel shaky, dizzy, and weak. Not ideal behind the wheel, to say the least.
Having said that, medication is crucial for managing diabetes (and therefore safer driving) so it’s not a matter of not taking it. It’s a matter of monitoring and managing, to keep your blood sugar at its optimum level.
Diabetes and hypoglycaemia
Hypoglycaemia needs to be treated quickly so that blood sugar levels don’t drop further. If they continue to drop you could end up having a seizure or become unconsciousness.
This poses an enormous risk if you‘re driving at the time. If this does happen, pull over quickly as soon as it’s safe to do so. Then administer whatever treatment – or call whoever you need to – to rectify the situation.
Driving with diabetes
If you live with diabetes, your doctor or specialist will assess your fitness to drive. If they determine you can safely drive, they’ll provide you with a medical report. This report must be provided so you can be issued with a learner permit or driver’s license.
Driver licensing authorities will either require you to get a medical certificate every two or five years thereafter. If you manage diabetes with insulin medication the period is two years due to the risk of hypoglycaemia. If you manage diabetes with exercise and diet, you renew your medical certificate every five years.
For people who newly develop diabetes, it’s important to inform the driver licensing authority in your state or territory. Otherwise, you may be charged with a driving offence if you’re involved in a car accident.
Invisible disability and car insurance – inform your insurer
Always tell your car insurer if you live with diabetes. If they’re unaware you have diabetes, your insurance may not cover you for a driving incident. Providing an insurer with honest and accurate information is vital to getting the proper insurance policy and cover.
Diabetes is an invisible disabilities because it can potentially affect all areas of a person’s life. You may find a disability insurance specialist disability is the best way to take care of your car insurance needs.
Specialist insurance and diabetes
Blue Badge is Australia’s first independence and mobility insurance specialist. We offer car insurance for people with a disability parking permit. Every day we work with people who face the reality of living with a disability. Our clients live with a wide range of disabilities, which means we understand the challenges that every day living may present.
Contact us today for an obligation free tailored insurance quote to suit your needs.
Driving with diabetes – over to you
Many of us who live in Australia and around the world live with and understand the reality of diabetes. If you know what it’s like to have diabetes, share some of your insights into driving with diabetes. We’re looking forward to hearing from you in the comments below.