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Diabetes

Driving and Diabetes

​​​​​Can I drive if I have diabetes?

Many people with diabetes drive. By law, it’s your responsibility to tell the Driver Fitness and Monitoring Branch of Alberta Transportation that you have diabetes. They’ll ask you questions and decide if you need a driver medical report for your diabetes.

If you need a drive​r medical report, your healthcare provider will fill out a report on how well controlled your diabetes is. There may be a cost from your doctor to do this. If you have questions, please ​contact the Driver Fitness and Monitoring Branch.

How do I know if my diabetes isn’t well controlled?

​You’ll know your diabetes isn’t well controlled if:

  • ​Your healthcare provider tells you.
  • You don’t know you’re having low blood sugar when it happens (hypoglycemia unawareness).
  • You have severe low blood sugars that you need help to treat.

What do I need to know about driving and diabetes?

There can be some risks when you’re driving and you have diabetes. Talk to your healthcare provider about:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Blood sugar below 4.0 mmol/L can be caused by insulin and some oral medicines. It can affect how you drive and decisions you make while driving.
  • Problems (complications) with diabetes that can affect your ability to drive (e.g., problems seeing, losing feeling in your feet, getting dizzy).

What do I need to do before I drive and while I’m driving?

You must test your blood sugar before you start to drive.

  • If your blood sugar is at least 5.0 mmol/L, you may drive.
  • If your blood sugar is between 4.0 to 5.0 mmol/L, have a snack before you start to drive.
  • If your blood sugar is less than 4.0 mmol/L, or you think that you have a low blood sugar, treat the low blood sugar before you start to drive. Then, wait at least 45 minutes before driving. Make sure your blood sugar is over 5 mmol/L before you drive.

If your blood sugar goes low​ while you’re driving:

  • Stop​ the car and take the keys out of the ignition.
  • Treat the low blood sugar with fast-acting sugar.
  • When your blood sugar is above 4.0mmol/L, have a snack with a protein and a carbohydrate.
  • Wait 45 minutes. Make sure your blood sugar is over 5.0 mmol/L before you start driving again.

Check your blood sugar at least every 4 hours if you’re driving a long distance.

Always have your blood sugar meter, fast-acting sugar, and snacks in your car where you can reach them easily.

What else can I do?

  • See your healthcare provider regularly about your diabetes.
  • Keep blood sugar logs.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of low blood sugar, and treat it the way your healthcare provider has taught you.

References​

Current as of: February 9, 2018

Author: Primary Care and Chronic Disease Management, Alberta Health Services