The NDSS is administered by Diabetes Australia

Safe driving
with diabetes

Good news! If you have type 1 diabetes, you can still get your driver’s licence. 

You’ve probably been studying up on the road rules to keep you and everyone else safe. But, there’s some diabetes road rules too.

Before getting behind thewheel

Here’s what you need to do to get your driver’s licence and stay safe on the road with type 1 diabetes:

1. Ask your diabetes doctor for a medical report showing you’re safe to drive.

2. Let the licensing authority and car insurance company know you have type 1 diabetes. This is a legal rule.

3. Tell your boss if you drive a work car. You may need to show your medical report too.

4. Keep an eye on your blood glucose levels. Stick to the "Above 5 to drive" rule. This means your blood glucose levels needs to be above 5 mmol/L to drive.

5. Carry a blood glucose meter with you when you drive.

6. Carry fast-acting and longer-acting carbohydrate (or carb) foods or drinks and keep extra supplies in your car.

7. Have your eyes checked every 12 months.

Plan to drive.
Plan to avoid hypos.

Hypos can happen quickly. A hypo is a blood glucose level below 4 mmol/L. But when you’re driving, you should treat any blood glucose level below 5 mmol/L like a hypo.

Hypos can happen to anyone taking insulin. Driving with a hypo is a danger to yourself and others. Hypos when driving can usually be avoided by following these guidelines.

Always check your blood glucose before you drive. Never drive if your blood glucose is under 5 mmol/L.

Tips for safe driving:

  • Don’t drive under five! Driving is unsafe if your blood glucose level is below 5 mmol/L.
  • Before you get in the car, check your blood glucose. It needs to be above 5mmol/L to drive.
  • Carry a blood glucose meter with you when you drive.
  • If you are driving for two hours or more, re-check your blood glucose level at least every two hours to make sure it stays above 5 mmol/L.

If you feel like you're having a hypo when driving, follow these steps:

If you have any concerns pull over and wait until your blood glucose level is above 5 mmol/L before driving again.

1. Stop

Safely pull over and turn off the engine. Remove the keys from the ignition.

2. Check

Check your blood glucose level. If it’s above 5mmol/L and you feel well, you can drive.

3. Treat

Immediately eat or drink at least 15 grams of fast-acting carbs.

4. Check again

Wait 10-15 minutes and check your blood glucose level again. Repeat steps 3 and 4 if needed until your blood glucose is above 5 mmol/L.

5. Treat

Once your blood glucose is above 5 mmol/L, eat a longer-acting carb food (examples below).

6. Wait

Wait 30 minutes and check your blood glucose level again before driving.


Jelly Beans Icon

Jellybeans (6-10)

Fruit juice (150-200 mls)

Soft drink (150-200 mls) – Not diet or low calorie drink

Glucose tablets (2-4)

Lucozade (100-200 mls)

Glucose gel (one sachet)

Longer-acting carbs

A piece of fruit

Whole grain bread

A muesli bar

Dried fruit

When not to drive:

Some people have difficulty feeling the early symptoms of a hypo, even when their blood glucose level is very low. This is called reduced awareness of hypoglycaemia or hypo unawareness.

This is serious because it increases the risk of having a severe hypo.

Even if a mild hypo isn’t recognised and treated, blood glucose levels may drop quickly and without warning.

People with hypo unawareness can become confused, drowsy and even unconscious without knowing their blood glucose levels are too low and dropping.

People with this condition often can’t get a licence to drive. Sometimes getting a special conditional licence is possible if the diabetes doctor says it’s safe. For example, if they use a sensor glucose monitoring device that alarms when the blood glucose level drops too low for driving.

If you have hypo unawareness, it’s even more important to check and keep your blood glucose levels above 5 mmol/L before and during driving.

What is hyperglycaemia?

Hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose) can also affect your driving. This is because hyperglycaemia can cause tiredness, blurred vision, and problems with making decisions.

If you feel unwell and your blood glucose level is above your target range, don’t drive.

Diabetes and driving

Ready to hit the road?

This multiple-choice quiz can help you check your understanding of the extra responsibilities of driving with type 1 diabetes. Simply answer the questions and check your score at the end to see if you are ready to hit the road.

Check your knowledge!

This information is intended as a guide only. It should not replace individual medical advice. If you have any concerns about your health, or further questions, you should contact your health professional.

Find more information on diabetes and safe driving