Driving T1

My son is 16 and will be taking drivers Ed this year… I am really nervous about this…please… help me feel better about him learning to drive w/T1!!!

How about him keeping skittles in his pocket for lows? I know there’s nothing I can say to help a nervous mom get through the “driving” issue. I had 2 daughter’s who learned how to drive 1 year apart and still freak out when I go anywhere with them and their now 20 and 22! LOL! Mom Nerves huh?

Big time!!! I just read a blog story of someone who went low while driving… my son is very responsible and we just had a discussion about it…but the fear of something happening to him while behind the wheel is way bigger now that it would be if he wasn’t diabetic. My biggest fear is me out living one of my kids… I couldn’t deal with that.

My oldest is a Type 1 like her mom. I went through learning how to drive while being a Type 1 and so did my oldest. Please just tell him like I told her. Keep something (anything) with you and if you feel even the slightest twinge of being low EAT IT!!! I had many a wreck not paying attention to my feelings or thinking I could out run a low. Just tell him to ALWAYS have something with him incase he gets low. I really hate to say this but that’s about all you can do for him. Tell him to keep atleast 3 hard candies with him and when he feels a little low to eat them don’t give them time to dislove but use his teeth and chew them up!

Have you thought about, or would he even consider a CGMS? That would help alert him if he started going low fast. One nice thing about the Dex is that the rapid fall goes by how fast it is going & not what your low is set at - you can be at 200 dropping fast & it will beep at you.

His doctor said that he didn’t recomend a cgm… pissed me off. He says… they aren’t accurate and are about 20 mins late on their responses… I would love my son to have one. He doesn’t want one now because of one more thing to worry about…beeping at him. He also was in the room when the doctor said he didn’t recomend one… Grrr… I would love him to have one even for over night. Maybe he will want one when he is older.

don’t worry about highs

i got my liscense in july 2008, and was diagnosed in october 2008, so basically the entire first 3 months i had my liscense, by bg was high

I wonder what the pecentage of T1s going low and having at least one accident because of it is??? Not sure I wanna know.

Hi Katsz,

I’ve had a few close calls with driving. Thankfully, no accidents or blackouts. A couple times, I went really low and was shaking/sweating/confused when I pulled into our driveway. Lows sneak up on me, and hit fast! I’d recommend (1) test before getting behind the wheel, and (2) always always always have emergency food stashed away in the car. I have a tube of glucose tabs in each of our vehicles, one in our tent camper, my wife keeps on in her purse. I’ve got one stashed in my backpack, in my office desk, and all over our house. I even keep on in my bike’s saddle bag!

Lows will happen. But we’ve got to, absolutely got to, be ready to treat them. It took me awhile, but I finally learned that one.

Cheers and good luck,

p.s. – Then all you have to worry about is the teenage stuff, like having his buddy drive while he hangs onto the tailgate of the pickup as they drive over icy roads in the winter. Not that I’ve done that one…really…I haven’t! …much…

I know you can not stop worrying automatically but it really is not bad. Everyone’s reaction is a little different but I have not had 1 incident since I got mine at 16 (turning 29 in a couple of weeks). Highs are fine while driving and lows dont really “sneak up” on a lot of people. Im sure (since he is a teen) that him and his friends will have some sort of food/candy around all the time … you can actively put glucose tabs or hard candy on the driver side of the car (cos my friends eat my candy and glucose tabs lol) … have also been riding motorbikes for years with 0 issues … he will do fine :slight_smile:

I feel for you. My son will be 16 in February. I am nervous about that and worry about the lows and his ability to judge what he needs. His endocrin nurse discouraged the CGM as well. I was so mad. ALthough it is annoying… it may alert him and keep him steadier - especially with playing sports where he goes way high and then drops like a lead balloon. Am very nervous about college as well, but I’ll tackle the driving first !! Keep us posted with how it is going… Nancy

Im T1 was DXed at 9, started driving at 15 & 1/2, am 34 now. Ive never had an accident due to D (and thats driving in LA). Thats in both good control and bad. Make sure to keep something easily accessable for LBS in the car. Also, keep a spare meter in the car. The CGMS would be very helpful if he is loosing his sensitivity to lows, but I was on shots and had no CGMS.

I have a cousin who lives in a high altitude city and is predisposed to not feeling lows. Shes had 1 accident. The low sensitivity is the most important thing while driving IMHO. If he can feel a low coming on and has something accessible its easy. If hes not feeling lows do a test before driving and that nips it in the bud. The best we can do as parents is teach our own to be good people and hope they can then navigate through the murky waters. I think your concern will resonate in him and he will take the precautions necessary to be safe.

I don’t have a child with T1, but I am T1 myself and a parent. So I am the one who has to be sure that I am okay to drive my children where we need to go. I am sure it is scary; having kids are like watching little pieces of your heart run around outside of you. You can’t insulate them or isolate them, but give them the tools they need (which you clearly already know by your concerned post :slight_smile: ). I can only offer what I do in my routine.

I check my blood sugar 20 minutes before I leave. If it’s under 100, I eat a couple of crackers. If it’s low, I treat my low and eat a cracker or two (maybe some cheese). Then I test 15 minutes later and make sure I am in range. I also keep glucose tabs on my keychain, (just bought one from Wal-Mart that holds 4), I have glucose tabs in my purse, car and a snack sack that I keep next to me in the passenger seat that also contains crackers, granola bars and a bottle of liquid glucose drink. I check my blood sugar every time I drive (unless it’s been a short period of time since I last tested and was above 100).

You use more strips, but it’s a must. You might want to ask his doc to factor this into his monthly prescription. CGM are great. But I am guessing that they are worried that as a teenager he might be inclined to go by the number on the CGM and not test before driving, which would be worrisome. But the CGMs are great for trends and alerting him that it is coming down while driving which is something that he might not be aware of, but the CGM picks up on.

Best of luck.

Thank you all for your comments… he does “feel” his lows and when he is on his bike he just eats a few tabs and goes on…and has done well so far w/biking… Hopefully driving will be as easy and he will always feel his lows.

I drive and I’m 22 - I was diagnosed in May of this year and ever since then, I always keep food in my dash or console. Something easy to open while physically moving would be my recommendation. =)

I have a simple answer to your concern about your son going low while driving … I never leave the house without an individual bottle of coke or pepsi sometimes that bottle lasts me all week or sometimes 20 minutes … I’ve noticed that as soon as the soda touches your mouth you start to feel relief and it’s very convenient because if you start to feel low while driving all you have to do is reach for your bottle of soda that is sitting in your cars cup holder … And I always keep a bag of jelly beans in my glove compartment they work just as well as the glucose tabs … I’ve had diabetes since 10!and I’ve never had any problems with driving because in all these years I have never left the house with some form of fast acting sugar … Licorice and milk is also good when low …and I’m now 32 and a mom of a 4 year old who is always trying to eat my goodies

Ive been T1 D since 9 years old. Started driving at 15. Its second nature. Ive driven cross counrty and 2k mile trips alone. Its really no big deal. Ive always kept candy in the car. It used to be snickers in the glovebox in the early 90s. That didnt work too well. They always seemed to melt. None the less it treated lows.

I keep a big bag of smarties in the drivers side dorr. I just pull one out and snack away if need be. There is a stash of LBS stuff in the trunk so If I get really low I can pull over.

If your super worried (point of this thread right?) makes sure hes low sensitive and possible think about a CGMS for him. Also, you might think about having him test before he drives. Although, a single test wont tell you the trend, but it might put your mind at ease. Also, let me say, Ive been driving for 20+ years now as a T1D and never had an accident due to LBS or any other D reason.

He is now where he can drive w/ us in the car… on a permit. He has also had 2 lows…Not while driving…thank God where he did not have warning… one he even went unconcious and hit his head…and got a concussion and hurt his knee badly and now is going to PT for it. Lately he just tests and east something before driving and has tabs avail… so far so good…but I can’t say I am fully relaxed… might try the soda thing… easy to grab…fast acting… thank you all

Better than soda, try treetop apple juice cans. They are 20 carbs for a 7oz can and have fructose which the body breaks down faster than corn syrup (how soda is sweetened). The cans come in a 6 pack and can be found at most grocery stores.

I might look into a CGMS if hes having undetected lows like that. The Dexcom CGMS has helped me a ton in my D management.

I was diagnosed about 8 or 9 months before I first got my permit when I was 16, my parents were somewhat nervous at first but after a while they got used to me driving.

But just like Danny and others here say, have him check his BG every time before he begins to drive.

Always keep candy or some sort of sugar very close by, if he gets low, have him bring the levels back up before he continues the drive

Its ok to test as long as the car is stopped, like if stuck at a long red light where there is enough time, I’ve caught lows during these times.

The very last thing anybody wants is any of us turning into a hypoglycemic madman behind the wheel, been there, done that, once… Long story, thank god I didn’t kill anybody that night, that was almost 6 years ago now.

More advice as far as cars go, its best you have him drive something that is slow and underpowered, let him get some driving experience before you ever let him behind the wheel of a more serious real car. A Honda, Toyota, or anything else that is slow is a great place to start a new driver off with, first car I ever drove was a 2000 Civic Manual trans, I started on stick shift from the very start.

Also, teach him to check all the fluid levels, oil, coolant, AT trans fluid if applicable. I’ve known of a number of cases where new drivers cooked engines on older aging cars by not checking up on things under the hood, leaks and such can begin in just a matter of years of the car’s age. Ruining a motor is a lot easier than it sounds. Also on a cold morning or day, teach him to start the engine first and let it run for at least 30 seconds, this is a good time to get the BG test completed. Crankshaft and Cam bearings do not like being put under load at all while cold, and if hes in a hurry, let it run for at least 5 SECONDS! Throwing the engine under load before it gets up to full oil pressure can destroy the head within a matter of months or years, it makes me just cringe when I see somebody do that somewhere.

Thats about it though, best of luck to you’re son’s new adventures of driving :slight_smile: