DWL (driving while low)

Has anyone ever had an accident while being low? I thank God have not recently but about 8 years ago I did. I was only 18 and not checking my bs at all at that point in my life.

I was at work and I don't remember much about that day but coworkers later told me that I had been acting spacey all day(none of them knew I was diabetic) apparently I just left work in the middle of my shift and got in my car and tryed to drive home. The crazy thing is I got almost all the way home before I wrecked into a parked car.  Then I got out of my car and walked the rest of the way home people who saw it happened called the cops who were certain I was under the influence of something.finally I told them I was diabetic and the rescue squad made me drink some o.j.  I think about that day often, driving with low bs is as dangerous as driving while drunk. we all have to be so careful.

Wow, that's crazy. 

I was actually driving with a low yesterday.  I wasn't driving all over the road or anything, but my vision got really blurry, and I felt really hungry.  I didn't shake (like I usually do), but I did get jittery.  My legs get restless, and so do my arms.  When I'm experiencing a real low blood sugar, I start shaking uncontrollably.  Luckily, I made it to my moms safe, and I had a quick snack before I left again.  Diabetes is really annoying.  I can't do all the things I used to do anymore without fearing low blood sugar of getting in the way.  Sad part is, I can function just fine when my sugar is slightly high, so I find myself aiming it a little on the high side a lot of the times...And that's bad for the long run...

I once saw an accident on the side of the road that was particularly gruesome.  I found out in the newspaper later on that the late driver had passed out because he was diabetic.  That incident really scared it.  I am so fearful of getting low while driving that I tend to keep my blood sugars on the higher side as well.  I used to keep extra glucose tablets in the glove compartment, but I discovered that they had all melted together during the hot, humid DC summer.  Now I keep the gross gel stuff instead but it's better than nothing in an emergency!  


I keep a big jar of the watermellon glucose tablets in my car.  I think the lows are a major fear for many of us and it is one of the HUGE reasons I am so grateful for my CGM!  I am looking for a GPS windshield mount that will fit my Navigator, I am pretty sure there are some and I'd love to be able to just keep it in front of me...



I did a number on my car because of a low. That is what really caused me to change how I treated things. This is also why I am so glad for the CGMS, while it may not always be 100% accurate, it does cover me and I know what I am starting out with when I drive. Granted since my pump I have not had any major issues in general (knock on wood) so in some sense as bad as the accident was, it really woke me up to a reality I had been fearing to face head on for so long.

I one time had a low while driving and it was scary.  It was snowing and I was focusing really hard on driving and being safe.  I remember being really intent on the road, but then my vision was getting a little goofy, and then the sweats broke out.  I pulled over immediately and tested to find myself 34.  Lots of glucose tabs and a crying phone call home, I got back on the road but that experience helped me to come up with a few driving rules:

  • I ALWAYS have my meter out and on the seat next to me to reducing purse digging time just in case I need it
  • I keep glucose tabs in my cup holder
  • I never drive more than an hour on the highway.  If I have to do a big trip, I get hottie hottie boyfriend to drive me or a friend to do it.  It isn't worth an accident.  People will always understand.  You gotta be safe
  • Check your BG after every hour of a long driving trip.  The increased brain power needed to drive and intake all that visual stimuli makes your blood sugar go down (because your brain runs on glucose!)

I have become concerned about this issue, and have contacted local police departments to go there and speak about driving with diabetes (specifically when hypoglycemic), the signs/symptoms/medical alert jewelry to look for, etc. I would suggest all diabetic adults on this forum to get in contact with their local police departments, inquire about the extent of their training on hypoglycemia, and volunteer your time to educate public servants so that they can better assist us in the event of a diabetic emergency on the road, especially since it so closely resembles being under the influence of drugs/alcohol. We have to do our part to help others help us. I think this is where the continuous blood glucose monitors would be invaluable, but they are pricey and most diabetics don't have them. Otherwise, I encourage everyone to 'know before you go'. If you check your blood sugar before you get into a car, you're going to avoid situations like these. Sure it requires time and effort, but we should remember that driving is a privilege, and driving with hypoglycemia endangers us and everyone else on the road. While I'm not saying driving with hypoglycemia is malicious intent, it is careless in the situations where it can be avoided by a simple finger stick before getting behind the wheel. While it is another burden, we all need to try to adopt good diabetes management practices, and this is surely one of them. Also, be sure to have your blood glucose monitor, insulin, glucose tabs, medical alert jewelry, or other information that identifies you as a diabetic (such as getting put on your driver's license that you are insulin dependent) in a place that is easily accessible to you or an officer during a traffic stop or hypoglycemic event.


There is, I think, a line of concern when you start involving the state or additional documentation.  There are a lot of diabetics who have good control and have had to file and re-file and continue to re-file (at the cost of additional medical time or visits and paperwork) simply to maintain rights to drive and there are a lot of states that really come close to restricting the rights of diabetics to a point of discomfort.  I encourage everyone to do what they need to do to educate those around them but I am also wary of bringing the state involvement in to the point where it causes undue burdens on the population you seek to protect.

I think it is critically important to be in control of blood sugars behind the wheel and I think it is good for police and other providers to be aware of signs and symptoms.  I am not sure I am a big fan of addendums to or even additional state issued documentation related to the disease.  I admire your involvement.



I didn't say anything about involving the state. I don't think diabetics should have driving restrictions simply because they are diabetic. In fact, there are studies that show diabetics are NOT involved in more car accidents than the average person. I haven't heard of diabetics having a hard time getting/keeping a driver's license because of their condition, but if this is the case, then they should contact the American Diabetes Association's Legal Advocacy Team for advice because it certainly sounds like a discrimination case. I understand where you are coming from though. For example, I just had 'insulin dependent' put on my driver's license this year. Prior to that I was too concerned myself that perhaps the information would be transferred to my car insurance company and my rates would go up. However, that has not been the case, and I also feel safer knowing that I have that information on there in the event of an emergency.

I was always taught to test before I started driving, and if I was below 90 to take 15 grams of sugar, wait 10 minutes, test again, and then drive. Along with that I always keep a powerade or other high carb drink besides me in the car. I think taking these precautions makes me pretty safe.

I was never taught any of that. I mean youw ould think it was common sense for that, but it never came up with my pediatric endocrinologist or my "grown up" endocrinologist. I put it in that phrasing just because I may be 27, I really don't act it in general.

typically as soon as i start feeling low while in the car i pull over to the side of the road with alert lights going. that's if i have nothing in my purse. i always have some sort of high carb candy in my purse. my purse goes with me everywhere. plus i like to test before i even step into the car. if i was low before i went somewhere and i ate and tested right before i left and it was oh let's say 120, i still want someone to drive me where i need to be. it scares me to drive when i feel that way.