Driving and Camping Holidays
Touring in your car and Diabetes
We will presume you know your diabetes well enough to understand how it can affect your ability to drive safely, if you don’t or are a newly diagnosed diabetic, seek additional advice. Driving with high or low glucose levels are very dangerous to you and others on the road. That said, here’s a little extra diabetic travel information, should you be planning a road trip. Please check the planning your trip section of our Diabetic Travel Advice for a more generic generic guide when travelling with diabetes.
As mentioned before DO NOT leave insulin supplies in the car once you’ve reached your destination as heat and cold will affect your insulin. Its an easy mistake to make, even leaving your bags in the car whilst you check in could be enough to have a negative effect on your insulin’s’ potency. Your meter and diabetic testing strips should also not be exposed to direct sunlight.
Quick guide to safe driving with diabetes
Check blood glucose levels before beginning your trip ensuring your level is at 5mmol/L or more. A two point test is a good way of knowing whether your blood glucose level is on its way up or down. For example test ½ an hour before you leave and then just before you drive off, this can give you an indication as to whether you blood glucose level is dropping. You should test your glucose levels regularly whilst driving to make sure you and your passengers remain safe in your care.
- Always carry quick acting carbohydrates in the car with you in case you are hypo. If you do become hypo, pull over to the side of the road as soon as you can safely do so. Turn off the ignition and take the keys out of the ignition. Treat your hypo and follow it up with long acting carbohydrates. Ensure that you are safe to drive by re-checking your blood glucose level. Do not drive until your blood glucose level is above 5mmol/L and you feel better.
- Be cautious about camping alone in case of emergencies.
- Let someone at home know where you’re going, your location and that you’re diabetic.
- Consider the amount of activity you will be doing as you may need to adjust your insulin accordingly (discuss with your diabetes team).
- Remember the following:
- Diabetes Emergency Kit
- Hypo Kit (including Glucagon if prescribed by doctor)
- Frio pack/ cooler
- Protective shoes
- Supplies of drinking water and water purification tablets
- Sunscreen, mosquito repellent, hat etc.
Remember, there is no product that can stop insulin from freezing in very cold environments. If in doubt, keep the insulin close to your body to prevent it from freezing. Similarly, your strips and blood glucose meter can also be protected by your body temperature by keeping it close to you. If you are sleeping in sleeping bags, bring your insulin, meter and strips into the sleeping bag with you.
Keep your insulin cool in your Frio bag, this needs to be carried away from directly sunlight, to avoid extreme heat or increased speed in the evaporation. When it doubt, soak your Frio bag more often in water, there’s not hard in being over zealous! Plus, the usual trick of burying items deep inside your backpack wont work with a Frio bag, there needs to be space around the bag for water to evaporate and keep the bag at the regulated temperature… a bit of a juggling act, but not impossible.
PDF Copy of our Diabetic Travel Advice
Comments or questions are welcome.
Our Diabetic Travel Advice pages are presented to compliment your travel plans and should in no way replace the unquestionable advice and medical care given to you by your health care team, wherever you are in the World