Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Some Diabetics Drive When Blood Sugar Is Dangerously Low

Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

Results showed that the people studied stated they would drive 43-44% of the time when they estimated their blood sugar at 60-70 mg/dL, and 38-47% of the time when their actual blood sugar was <40 mg/dL. Approximately 50% of drivers in each group decided to drive at least 50% of the time when their blood sugar level was <70 mg/dL. "There are a variety of reasons that people might drive a car even though they recognize that their glucose is low," says Clarke. "Those can be environmental or social factors, such as a need to pick up children, not having rapid-acting sugar available in the car, or previous experience with low blood sugar -- in much the way that people recognize that maybe they can drive the car when they have had two drinks and still do OK. I think that is [fine] when you don't stress the system, but what happens when a kid runs out in front of you? Your processing of an emergency situation is probably at a level [that prevents you from] respond[ing] appropriately."

Margaret Himelfarb, a board member of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International and the mother of a son with diabetes, adds two more reasons: the fact that people with low blood sugar have some impairment in their thinking ability or that they may have misunderstood the question asked in the study.

"The one thing that I don't see [in the study] is whether or not they might have expected that they would have a snack and then get behind the wheel," she says. "It is so obvious to them, such a part of their lives. ... It is conceivable they may have misunderstood the directive."

Clarke concedes that misunderstanding may be a possibility, but he considers it unlikely that so many of the people studied would have made the same mistake. "I don't think the numbers would bear that out," he says. "All of us physicians wish that our patients would make good decisions, ... and it is our responsibility to review with them the many things that could be dangerous in their lives and help them to be safer."

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article