Hypoglycemia and safe driving

Ann Saudi Med. 2010 Nov-Dec;30(6):464-7. doi: 10.4103/0256-4947.72268.


The lack of awareness of the effects of hypoglycemia on safe driving is a real issue for diabetic patients and a challenge for health care providers. Taking the form of questions and answers, this review addresses the issue of road traffic accidents and drivers with type 1 diabetes mellitus. While there is little evidence showing higher accident rates among diabetic drivers, there is research indicating that hypoglycemia compromises driving performance, resulting in slower response times and reduced cognitive function. Unawareness of an early fall in plasma glucose is another important issue that affects some diabetic drivers. The driver with type 1 diabetes is obliged to check their blood glucose before driving. The physician's duty is to familiarize the patient with the risk of hypoglycemia. If hypoglycemic unawareness is present, the physician should advise the patient to stop driving until the condition is reversed. The doctor should consider informing authorities if he concludes there is a risk and the driver cannot be persuaded to stop driving.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Automobile Driving* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Cognition
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / complications*
  • Hypoglycemia / physiopathology
  • Hypoglycemia / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety*