Health Watch - Diabetes: Blood Sugar and Driving

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about managing diabetes. One problem that people with diabetes face is fluctuating blood sugar levels, and that can be risky in certain situations, such as behind the wheel.

Even a small drop in blood sugar can slow reflexes and reduce alertness, which can be dangerous for someone driving a car. Joyce Barnett, a registered dietitian at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says diabetics should plan trips around meals. Don’t skip meals or scheduled snacks, especially if you’re taking insulin. Always keep carbohydrate-rich foods at hand in case of a drop in blood sugar. This includes fruit juice, hard candies, non-diet sodas and glucose tabs. If you experience a drop in blood sugar, eat a carbohydrate-rich food, wait 15 minutes and then test your blood sugar again before getting back on the road.    

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in endocrinology.


July 2009

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