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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can I drive with diabetes?

    What is right level for driving? I was told if below five do not drive. What about how high you should not drive?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Lisa Renn


    Lisa is an APD with 12 years experience, specialising in helping people identify and change habits that impact negatively on their health. Inspiring change, Lisa … View Profile

    Hi there,
    testing your blood sugar levels before you drive is always a good precaution to take, particularly if you frequently suffer from hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
    Using the slogan “5 to drive” is good advice.
    We are generally more concerned with the lower end of the scale as your concerntration and conscious levels can be affected more by low blood sugars.

    If your levels are consistently above 10mmol  then it is time to go back and see your diabetes team as your medication may need reviewing. You can still drive at these levels however you may be feeling unwell and be showing symptoms of high blood sugar levels such as tiredness, thirst and frequent urination.

  • Inger Wang

    Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator

    I'm a Credentialed diabetes educator I work together with 2 endocrinologists. I'm specialized in type 1 diabetes, insulin pump therapy and sport and diabetes. I … View Profile

    You should not be driving if it drops under five. Then you should treat it with some quick acting sugar, so you can raise your blood sugar before you drive. when you're driving, make frequent stops, and make sure you have a quick acting sugar available to you at all times.

  • Brad Williams

    Occupational Therapist (OT)

    Williams Occupational Therapy has occupational therapists trained in driver assessments and rehab specialising in getting clients back on road safely. WILLIAMS OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY offer Adelaide … View Profile

    I agree that under 5 is not safe for driving due to the risk of cognitive changes. Something else to look out for is peripheral neuropathy -especially in the lower limbs. If there is ever a change in foot sensation, please see your GP or have it thoroughly assessed with a practical driver assessment.

  • Carolien Koreneff

    Counsellor, Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Psychotherapist, Registered Nurse

    Carolien Koreneff is a Somatic (body-oriented) psychotherapist, Health Coach, Counsellor as well as a Credentialed Diabetes Educator with over 20 years experience. She currently sees … View Profile

    What the others before me have forgotten to mention is that for people with diabetes who take tablets or insulin to treat the diabetes you need to check your blood glucose level before you hop behind the wheel. The aim is indeed to have a blood glucose level of at least 5.
    People on insulin in particular need to inform the RTA as failure to do so may affect your insurance if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Talk to your doctor, endocrinologist or Credentialed Diabetes Educator for more details.
    And Brad is absolutely right to also mention Peripheral Neuropathy. There is a type of neuropathy called “insensate neuropathy” where no pain is experienced. This form of neuropathy is particularly dangerous as the damaged nerves may give you false information as to where your foot is placed and could therefore put you at risk of accidents.
    People with retinopathy should also be aware. Retinopathy is damage to the eyes caused by diabetes. If vision is reduced this could also affect your driving skills and for this reason and the ones mentioned above it is crucial that people with diabetes inform the RTA. THe RTA will then be able to send you reminders to get assessed on a regular basis, which not only keeps you safe, but also those around you.
    As always: Drive Safe and stop, revive, survive every 2 hours.

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