Driving With Diabetes


The Official DVSA Guide to Driving – the essential skills

I am not a great driver I am inclined to panic a lot when driving especially when I am nervous!

When I was in Waterford yesterday I was driving up Bunkers Hill when the car in front of me stopped and my car engine cut out!

I tried to start it again but the car wouldnt go up the hill!

I think it was because of the parking brake I am not sure!

As I was very stressed I started to panic especially when there was a line of traffic behind me!

I kept trying but I could not get the car up the hill!

I tried this for ten minutes with no joy!

Then this kind lady stopped as she could see I was in a panic!

She asked if the car was automatic as that’s what she drove but mine was manual therefore it was harder to drive up the hill!

She tried but like me she couldnt manage to move it so I asked this man who was walking by if he knew anything about cars but he was a foreigner who did not understand my Scottish accent!

As the kind women did not know what to do I told her I would try to sort it out myself and she got in her car and drove away!

Then in the rear view mirror I spotted a young capable looking man in the car behind!

So I went up to him and asked him could he help me as I was no good at hill starts!

Then he got out of his car and walked to mine,got into the driver’s seat and drove the car up the hill straight away!

I was embarassed that I could not do a hill start and told him I was shaking because of all the drama and he said not to worry that it was only Waterford and no one would mind!

I thought that was kind and he went on his way!

I was wondering if any of you have any embarassing driving experiences yourself?

If you have any funny stories to tell I would love to hear them!

Please leave your stories in the comment section below or email them to me directly!

Driving safely is something we all believe in. If you have diabetes and wish to drive, it is important to be aware of the legal requirements  especially if driving is part of your profession.

Irish and EU legislation requires that a driver should advise their driver licensing authority of any long-term or permanent injury or  any illness that may affect their safe driving ability.

People with diabetes are currently subject to some licensing requirements and restrictions.

These licensing decisions occur at several points and involve different levels and types of review, depending on the country and type of driving.

Some countries and local jurisdictions impose no special requirements for people with diabetes!

Other countries and jurisdictions ask drivers with diabetes various questions about their condition, including their management regimen and whether they have experienced any diabetes-related problems that could affect their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

In some instances, answers to these questions result in restrictions being placed on a person’s license, including restrictions on the type of vehicle they may operate and/or where they may operate that vehicle.

Diabetics who are insulin dependent require more medical evaluation by a doctor than those who have no chronic illness!

Countries identify drivers with diabetes in a number of ways.

Drivers are either asked directly if they have diabetes or are otherwise required to fill out a medical form.

In most countries the driver with diabetes is required to submit to a medical evaluation form before he or she will be issued a driving license!

Driving And Hypoglycemia



The licensing agencies are trying to ensure you are safe on the road. They will be concerned if you are unable to recognise or self-treat your hypos.

Drivers with diabetes can have a hypoglycemic episode which can impair their ability to drive!

Hypoglycemia (also known as a hypo) is the medical term for a low blood glucose (sugar) level.

Severe hypoglycemia means that the assistance of another person is required. The risk of hypoglycemia is the main danger to safe driving  . This may endanger your own life as well as that of other road users!

Accidents caused by hypoglycemia are sometimes because drivers carry on driving even though they get warning symptoms of hypoglycemia or they may have hypoglycemia unawareness.

For more information on hypoglycemia unawareness click here!

If you get warning symptoms of hypoglycemia whilst driving, you must always stop as soon as safely possible , do not ignore the warning symptoms!



Early Symptoms of Hypoglycemia include:

Sweating, shakiness or trembling, feeling hungry, fast pulse or palpitations, anxiety, tingling lips.

If you do not treat this it may result in more severe symptoms such as:
Slurred speech, difficulty concentrating, confusion, disorderly or irrational behaviour, which may be mistaken for drunkenness. If left untreated this may lead to loss of consciousness.


Discoball® Car Driving Safety Emergency Kit EU Vehicle Repair Essentials Travel Tool Case

Drivers at risk of hypoglycemia are advised to take the following precautions:

1. You must always carry your glucose meter and blood glucose strips with you. You must check your blood glucose before driving and every two hours whilst you are driving.

2. In each case if your blood glucose is 5.0mmol/l(90.0mg/dl) or less, take a snack. If it is less than 4.0mmol/l(72.0mg/dl) or you feel hypoglycemic, do not drive and take appropriate action to correct your blood glucose level.

Click Here for further details!

3. If hypoglycaemia develops while driving, stop the vehicle as soon as possible.
4.You must switch off the engine, remove the keys from the ignition and unbelt your seat belt.
5. You must not start driving until 15 minutes after blood glucose has returned to normal. It takes up to 15 minutes for the brain to recover fully.

6. Always keep an emergency supply of fast-acting carbohydrate such as orange juice and jelly sweets within easy reach in the vehicle.

7.You should carry personal identification to show that you have diabetes in case of injury in a road traffic accident.


8.Particular care should be taken during changes of insulin regimens, changes of lifestyle, exercise, travel and pregnancy.
9.You must take regular meals, snacks and rest periods on long journeys. Always avoid alcohol.

Medical Evaluation

Each time a person with diabetes at risk of hypoglycemia wishes to renew their driving licence, they must present a completed medical form stating their fitness to drive.

Generally the licence  for diabetics will only be issued for three years duration in countries such as UK and Ireland.

You must also inform your National Driver Licence Service when renewing your licence:

Fitness to Drive: A Guide for Health Professionals

1.If you have suffered more than one episode of severe hypoglycaemia within the last 12 months. You must also report if you or your medical team feel you are at high risk of developing severe hypoglycemia.
2. You have developed an impaired awareness of hypoglycemia (difficulty in recognising the warning symptoms of low blood sugar).
3. You have suffered severe hypoglycemia while driving.
4. You don’t meet the vision standards set out in your National Driver Licence Service  Guidelines.
5. You develop any problems with the circulation or sensation in your legs or feet which make it necessary for you to drive certain types of vehicles only, for example automatic vehicles or vehicles with a hand-operated accelerator or brake. This must be shown on your driving licence.
6.An existing medical condition gets worse or you develop any other condition that may affect your driving safely.
7. If your doctor, specialist or optician tells you to report your condition to the National Driver Licence Service.
For people seeking a HGV licence ( drivers for bus/lorry) all of the above apply but in addition any episode of severe hypoglycaemia must be reported immediately.


Corporate First Aid Kits

Renewing your licence for a HGV licence – Trucks, buses and trailer vehicles

The Complete LGV and PCV Theory and Hazard Perception Tests 2015 Edition

If you are at risk of hypoglycemia, you are required to present a completed medical form stating your fitness to drive.

The duration of the license is usually one year and is dependent on having appropriate understanding and awareness of hypoglycemia, no episodes of “severe” hypoglycemia, and you must demonstrate regular monitoring (at least twice daily and regularly at times relevant to driving) using a meter with memory capacity.

For your medical review, you must have three month’s blood glucose readings. Qualifying Conditions which also must be met include:
1.No episode of hypoglycemia requiring the assistance of another person has occurred in the preceding 12 months.
2. Must have appropriate awareness of hypoglycemia .
3.Must demonstrate an understanding of the risks of hypoglycemia.
4.Will not be able to apply until your condition has been stable for a period of at least one month.
5. Must regularly monitor your condition by checking blood glucose levels at least twice daily . A glucose meter with a memory function to measure and record blood glucose levels must be used.
6.At the annual examination by a consultant endocrinologist, 3 months of blood glucose readings must be available.
7. Must have no other condition which would render you a danger when driving HGV  vehicles.
8.You will be required to comply with the directions of doctors(s) treating your diabetes and to report immediately to the Licensing service any significant change in your condition.

In the interests of road safety, you must be sure that you can safely control a vehicle at all times.

Some countries specify that doctors may voluntarily report those patients who pose an imminent threat to public safety because they are driving against medical advice.

Doctors and others required to make reports to the licensing authority are usually provided with immunity from civil and criminal actions resulting from the report.

When licensing authorities learn that a driver has experienced an episode of hypoglycemia that potentially affected their ability to drive, that driver is referred for a medical evaluation and in many cases will lose driving privileges for a period of time until cleared by the licensing authority.

This period can range from 3 to 6 months or longer. Some laws allow for waivers of the rules when the episode is a one-time event not likely to recur, for example because of a change in medication .

Medical evaluation procedures vary in countries and range from a simple confirmation of the person’s diabetes from a doctor to a more elaborate process involving a state medical advisory board, hearings, and presentation and assessment of medical evidence.

Some countries have medical advisory boards with nurses and doctors of different specialties who review and make recommendations concerning the licensing of people with diabetes and other medical conditions.

In other countries, licensing decisions are made by administrative staff with little or no medical training and with little or no review by a medical review board.

What About Insurance?

How To Save Money on Car Insurance: The “must have” insider’s guide to saving money on car insurance in the UK

When you apply for insurance, you will need to tell your insurance company that you have diabetes.

However, you should not be penalised with a higher insurance premium because of your condition. All members of the Insurance Federation have now agreed that they will not load their premiums for people with diabetes.

Remember that failure to disclose any change in your health could invalidate your cover.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act, you should not be refused car insurance purely on the basis of your diabetes.

People with diabetes should be assessed individually, taking into account each individual’s medical history as well as the potential related risks associated with driving.


If you have any information,questions, or feedback you would like to include in this webpage.

Please email momo19@diabetessupportsite.com or leave your comments below.

8 thoughts on “Driving With Diabetes”

  1. AHA. This is something that is quite interesting. Health issue is a concern if someone does have to drive by themselves or live alone, independently.

    In my country, this is something which should be considered a serious matter because the rate of diabetics is significantly high.

    The restriction of vehicle type is something Ive never came across. I think car brands should be aware of high number of diabetics in future. What do you think?

    • Hi Tar,

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment on this post.

      The restriction of vehicle type is usually large vehicles such as buses,lorries and trucks .

      These vehicles are often used in an a professional capacity involving long journeys and a lot of driving.

      Therefore it is very important that a diabetic has stable blood sugar levels ,good diabetic management skills and is well educated in the risks of hypoglycaemia in order to drive these vehicles safely.

  2. Thank you for the site as my father is diabetes and often digging up information everywhere is a bit hard. I like how everything is on one site dedicated to the subject. Love especially the recipes as he is really struggling with the current. He loves eating and to stop him from savouring is cruel!

    • Its great that you and your father like this website and find it useful.

      My aim is to provide a diabetic website that covers every diabetes topic .

      So if you or your father have any suggestions what you would like to see included in this website please let me know.

  3. Thanks for the info here. My family member actually had a hypo attack while driving. Luckily, she was able to pull over before injuring herself or others. I will be passing on the info on warning signs. I also like the hypowallet. That will make a great gift for her. This should be a law everywhere and I will be checking on that here. The road is dangerous enough these days.

    • Hi Billy,

      Its great you found the information in this article helpful.

      Being a type 1 diabetic myself i know how careful you have to be when driving and how essential it is to constantly monitor your blood sugar levels to avoid a hypoglycaemic attack when driving.

      A hypowallet would be a very useful thoughtful gift!

  4. Great information and I think we all need to be aware that some drivers will have diabetes. My work mate has to have insulin injections but I have never asked him about what the conditions are with his license.

    He drives a truck so I will ask him about it. What are the conditions in your country when it comes to driving a truck with diabetes?

    • Hi Joel,

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

      Vehicles are divided into two main categories in Ireland, namely Group 1 and Group 2. Group 1 vehicles are basically cars and motorcycles while Group 2 vehicles are considered to be trucks and buses.

      There are different standards for these two categories. If you are driving a bus with passengers and have a medical condition which may affect your ability to drive then this is clearly treated differently than if you just ride a motorcycle.

      The same is true of heavy goods vehicles because of their size and slower braking capacity.

      Diabetes sufferers who apply for a Group 1 licence may still be certified to drive, even if they are taking tablets for their condition or use insulin injections. The Road Safety Authority states that each licence is for a limited period and there’s also a requirement to remain under medical supervision for the duration.

      The situation is different in Ireland if you are applying for a licence for a Group 2 category of vehicle — trucks and buses.

      If the diabetic is non-insulin dependent then they can be certified to drive, again with the provison that they’re getting medical supervision for the duration of the licence.

      If a diabetic is insulin dependent then they will not normally be allowed to drive Group 2 vehicles. They will only be given a licence to drive a truck or bus if there are exceptional circumstances.

      These exceptional circumstances have to be certified by an endocrinologist specialising in diabetes. The definition of exceptional circumstances is not spelled out in the regulations.

      Even if the driver obtains this certification they will also have to subject themselves to an annual medical review to maintain their licence.


Leave a Comment

Hide picture