Driving & travel

Driving 

As long as your diabetes is well-managed, there is no reason you shouldn’t be issued with a licence, but you must notify your road transport authority and insurance company that you have diabetes. 

Before driving check your BGL and ensure the reading is 5mmol/L or moreAlways carry your blood glucose meter as well as fast and longer acting carbohydrate when you drive. Check your BGL at least every two hours on long trips. If a hypo occurs, pull over safely, turn the engine off and treat it immediately.  

You should not drive if you: 

  • Check your BGL and it is under 5mmol/L 
  • Have difficulty recognising the early signs of hypoglycaemia 
  • Are just starting to take insulin and your BGLs are not yet consistently within a healthy range 
  • Have problems with your eyesight that are not corrected with glasses 
  • Have numbness or weakness in your limbs 
  • Have been feeling unwell – this can affect BGLs 
  • Have had a severe hypo event requiring assistance from a third party. A medical practitioner needs to assess and clear you to drive. This could take 6 weeks or more.  

For more information, visit www.transport.qld.gov.au  

Insurance

Most insurance policies exclude pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes. While diabetes can be managed, people with diabetes are more likely to develop medical complications (such as blindness, nerve damage and kidney problems). 

It is essential when arranging a policy that you fully inform the insurance company about your diabetes even if they do not ask. If you don’t, you might find your claim is rejected.

Travel 

If you are going on a trip, whether by car, plane or train, it is essential that you plan your diabetes management for the duration of the journey.  

There are a number of things to consider when planning a trip, such as different airline regulations (for domestic and international travel), ensuring you have a well-timed itinerary, in-flight needs and being prepared for unexpected situations, such as delayed travel. 

Travel tips to ensure you’ve got everything covered: 

Doctor 
  • See your GP before you travel. Ask for a letter outlining your medical condition/s, medications and equipment. Take multiple copies. 
  • Ask for extra prescriptions if you require them. 
  • Check you have all relevant vaccinations and carry a record. 
  • Discuss any time zone changes and how to adjust medication for these. 
  • Discuss a sick day management plan. 
Equipment It is recommended that you take extra supplies with you. This includes a spare blood glucose meter, blood glucose strips, extra batteries, lancets, pen needles, sharps container, ketone strips, sensors (if required).  

If you’re using a pump, have a blood glucose meter and insulin pen with you just in case the pump stops working. 

Medications and insulin Ensure that you have enough medication for your entire trip. If you are staying for an extended period of time, check if your medication is available at your destination. 

If you are taking insulin, ensure you can store this safely in an insulated cool case. 

Travel insurance Choose and book a travel insurance that covers you adequately for your health condition/s and activities. 
Food You may require extra carbohydrates during your travel, especially if travelling by plane. Consider packing some extra carbohydrate snacks you can easily access. 
Emergency contacts Make a list of contact numbers for your health team and insulin company (if required). Make copies and pack in both carry on and checked luggage. 
Identification Consider some form of identification that indicates you have diabetes, such as a medical alert bracelet and take your NDSS card. 
Hypo and first aid kits Carry a basic first aid kit to treat minor ailments e.g. vomiting and diarrhoea treatments. 

If required, take a hypo kit containing fast and slow acting carbohydrates. 

The Australian Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with a range of countries providing travellers with benefits similar to Medicare if needed, but only for acute or emergency care. In this event, you would need to produce your Medicare card. 

For more information, call Medicare Australia on 02 6124 6333 or visit their website www.humanservices.gov.au 

More information can be found here: 

If you have doubts about what you are required to do in your situation we recommend you speak with your GP or contact us on 1800 177 055 to speak with one of our health professionals. 

Join our community of over 33,000 people living with diabetes