How much do you know about driving when you have diabetes? You may want to pass this test before you pull into traffic.
1. Diabetes can affect your ability to drive.
Answer: C. Most people with diabetes can safely operate a motor vehicle. However, if you have long-term complications of the disease—such as vision problems or nerve problems that cause a lack of feeling in your feet—your ability to drive safely may be compromised. The same is true if within the past year you’ve had bouts of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) that came on without warning, that caused you to lose consciousness or that required help from someone else to treat. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these complications. He or she can help you better manage your glucose levels to avoid severe problems with hypoglycemia. Your doctor can also refer you to a driving specialist who can determine if diabetes is affecting your driving. This specialist may also offer training to improve your driving skills.
2. You should check your blood sugar level before driving.
Answer: A. You need to measure your blood sugar level every time before you get behind the wheel and at regular intervals if you’re driving for an hour or more. If your blood sugar goes too high or too low, you may become sleepy, dizzy or confused. Your vision might also become blurred, and you may have a seizure or become unconscious.
3. You need to pull over as soon as possible if you experience signs of low blood sugar when driving.
Answer: A. You need to get off the road quickly and stabilize your blood sugar. Always stash a quick-acting form of glucose, such as hard candy or glucose tablets, in your car. Don’t start driving again until your blood sugar is back in balance.
Want more tips and advice on managing your diabetes? CVMC’s Diabetes Support Group meets the first Wednesday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at the Douglas County Community Center. Meetings are facilitated by CVMC’s Leslie McGraw, APRN. For more information call (775) 782-1637 or simply drop in to the next meeting. Registration is not required.
For additional updates on CVMC’s events and classes, visit www.cvmchospital.org/events.
Sources: American Diabetes Association; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration