man driving

Having diabetes does not mean you need to give up driving! But there are some legal formalities that you should be aware of and some precautions that you should take if you want to drive.

If you take insulin:

  • Your licence may be renewed every one, two or three years to keep track of your condition
  • If there are any changes to your condition between renewals that may affect your ability to drive, these should be reported to the DVLA/DVA when they occur

If you do not take insulin and manage diabetes through diet or tablets

  • You do not need to notify the DVLA/DVA

However, if you experience any of the following, you should notify the DVLA/DVA

  • Experience two severe hypos within the last 12 months
  • Experience a hypo while driving
  • Develop impaired awareness of hypos
  • Experience other medical conditions that could affect driving safely

Important: You must notify your insurance company that you have diabetes and inform them of any changes to your condition. If you fail to do so, your cover will be invalid in the event of a claim.

Top Tips for Safe Driving

To avoid the risk of having a hypo while driving, it is important to;

  • Keep some snacks in your vehicle
  • Test your blood glucose levels two hours before starting your journey
  • Test your blood glucose level every two hours during your journey
  • Take regular breaks

If you start to feel any of symptoms of a hypo while driving, stop the vehicle as soon as possible, where safe to do so, and test your blood glucose levels.

If your levels are low:

  • Take some glucose – tablets, biscuits or a sugary drink and follow up with some long acting carbohydrate
  • Wait until all your symptoms have completely passed
  • Do not start driving again for at least 45 minutes or until your blood glucose has returned to normal

If you are unsure about what to do next, discuss your condition with your local healthcare team.

For more advice about driving with diabetes, visit the Driver and Vehicle Licensing (DVLA) website or the NI Direct website in Northern Ireland.