Don’t Diabetes and Drive

Driving dogI have stated before that one of the hardest things I have done with all three of our children is turn over the keys in what surely is a right-of-passage; the right to drive. 

Now I am sure that kids do not behave like our pets and do everything we tell them, do they? 
When it comes to driving, this concerns me greatly.

I have feared cars all my life.  If you were a therapist, and you knew me well enough, I am sure you would be able to find a very strong link to my fear and when Patty Loprieno was chasing me in second grade and I ran right in front of a car…..and boom.  I was shaken up for some time.  It was a dark car and I remember the woman with glasses behind the wheel.  That is an interesting fact because the only time I ever saw her in  my life, before or since, was when I ruined her day by running in front of the car.   My point: the memory is very…..there.

I’m grateful that the woman had the sense of mind to be going very slowly in a school zone and watching for idiots like me.  I was banged and bruised and stayed in bed for a day but that was about the extent of it.  I was very fortunate and my father reminded me of this fact when he arrived home from work and the first words out of his mouth were, “You’re lucky you weren’t picked up with a shovel.”

So now you know I have a real problem with cars.

Am I alone when I ask, “Is anyone else worried that kids with diabetes do not check their blood sugar before they drive.  Most kids will say they do but I just have a hard time believing that they comply with this request each and every time.  Does two hours before “still count” because “I feel fine”?

I remember years ago I read an article by Mike Hoskins but if I remember correctly it was about dos and don’ts and stickers one could have for your car to make sure your are not identified incorrectly as a drunk driver should you go low (I like the decal idea).  And others have written about what to do or what not to do when driving with diabetes.  Today I seek input on ‘what actually is done’ before driving. 

I would like to say that this is a non-negotiable point in my house but with one child 23 and the other almost 18 telling me they check all of the time……well this is just one of those times we have to take their word because we cannot always be in the back seat.

I would like the REAL story from people with diabetes; would you share with us what you REALLY do when you drive and how often do check your blood sugar and dare I ask (because I do not have diabetes); should blood sugar be checked each and every time before the key hits the ignition?

What is the ‘safe window’ of time that one can test?

I know all the rules and ‘regulations’ us parents say—-but if some PWDs could share this perspective, it would surely gives us parents some insight.   Please share.


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9 replies on “Don’t Diabetes and Drive”

I will send my husband this way if he is willing… but I can tell you because I live with him, that I’m pretty sure he very rarely tests before driving, and he certainly doesn’t do it consistently. In fact, I’ve been with him in the passenger’s seat more than once while he is behind the wheel when he’s been asking me if I have any food in my purse. (Yes, of course I do, because my husband is diabetic… and has suffered hypos for his entire life, even BEFORE the diabetes dx at 34. And now my daughter is diabetic too, so he’s got an even better guarantee that Mom will be carrying the juice. )

I am 22 And have Type 1 Diabetes Had it for 21 years .. I been driving For over a year now and I cheek Every time I drive, If I don`t feel well, I wont drive and if I go Low while Driving I pull over and Won`t drive until I’m well enough. There a lot of idiots on the roads and you have to be 100% with it.

Call me an admission, a confession, or whatever you will, but I will also say that checking my blood sugar is not an “automatic” before driving. That said, checking my CGM obsessively keeps me rarely caught off-guard with what’s going on with my diabetes – driving or not.

Perhaps the CGM is a tool, but not an “absolute”. They always say not to make treatment decisions based on a CGM reading alone, and to verify it with a fingerstick. But with that said, a fingerstick by itself is just as useless. My blood sugar could be in 75 and rising slowly, or it could be 140 and dropping quickly, and the fingerstick wouldn’t tell me. The CGM will give me a window into what is happening and what is about to happen.

Sure, the “is” isn’t as accurate as the meter, but the “is about to” is certainly more valuable, and that’s more of the concern anyway.

With this said, I do always take my meter with me in the car. I also keep a large container of glucose tabs in the glove compartment. I have (another confession) at times tested my blood sugar while steering with my knees. I do try to be safe about it (doing it only on straight, uncongested roads), but the honest-to-god’s truth is that it’s really not safe, and I really shouldn’t be doing it.

But we shouldn’t lie or mask the reality either. I try to do better…

Thank you for this topic and for the share. I to worry about my daughter Makayla who has had type 1 for almost 6 yrs now(she is 17) and although she doesn’t drive yet, she does talk a lot about getting her permit so she can when she is 18. As a mom I am happy my child is getting older and wants to enjoy all the joys the world has to offer but I am scared to death. I remind her all the time to check her bgs and I watch a lot of the times(she is 17 after all…I did Mom…mmm meter says otherwise)

We have had the long understanding that she will get CGM b4 she can be allowed to drive and that she will be required to have it listed on her dl/permit but if her insurance doesn’t cover the CGM then there is just no way we can afford this and our plan (as best we can) for safety and a bit more security knowing she is on the road (and not only her safety and life are in balance) driving safe with a serious medical issue that can change in a millisecond.

I pray when the time comes that Makayla will be as honest and safety orientated as we have taught her and that she knows she should be. I say a lot of prayers. TEST TEST TEST

Thanks Tom and Scott for this topic and share.. Hope to see you at FFL

I am guilty of not practicing of what I would like to preach. I do not test before driving each and every time. If a test is warranted I will and often times I will have tested in close proximity because I am going somewhere and I want to know where I am at, but it has nothing to do with driving. If I happen to be low I would always treat and wait to drive. I always have my wallet with license and medical id card on me when I am driving and my car has juice boxes and glucose tabs in it at all times. However, as many of us are guilty of texting while driving, I am guilty of testing and injecting/pumping while driving!

I test within 15 minutes of getting in the car to drive. And then I test every 45-60 minutes after that. It is a pain in the butt, but my kids in the car depend on me, the other drivers on the road deserve to have me be aware to drive, and I don’t want to die, or have to live with the guilt of killing someone because I was to lazy to test. It takes all of 15 seconds to do. Why not just do it? I have a 14 year old daughter whom I am trying to be a role model for. I try to make sure she sees that I am testing often prior to driving and at regular intervals there after. I plan to begin havig her test her blld sugars even before she dan drive when she and I are out and about running errands or needing me to drive her places. This way she will get used to doing it, and recognize the need to leave early because if you are low you will have to wait before you can drive while you drink juice etc. and wait for your BG to go up. Planning ahead always for the worst case scenario. I hope for the best but plan for the worst. A low BG does not have to mean she will miss soccer practice, or be late for work, because she will have hopefully learned to plan ahead.

I test often, but unfortunately its often when already driving. It probably falls in the category of “distracted driving “.

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