Teenagers who live with diabetes often face many challenges in their lives especially in terms of managing their health while trying to assimilate among their peers. For teenagers, the opportunity to acquire a driver’s license, and begin driving a car, is a major life milestone that is looked forward to with much anticipation. If your teenager is preparing to drive a car, and lives with Type 1 diabetes, it is important to know what additional health and safety risks may be experienced.
As the parent of a teenager with Type 1 diabetes, there is no doubt that you understand the implications this diabetic condition has upon your teenager’s life. For many teens, managing normal blood glucose levels requires daily injections or prescription medication usage. In these same teenagers, however, there is also a risk for non-compliance with medication usage as more and more freedom is given. When your teenager begins driving, that freedom is taken to a new level and often this is the time when teenagers can become more non-compliant with their diabetes treatment.
When non-compliant with diabetes treatment, teenagers can experience a slowing of the cognitive function, slowing of motor functions and even neurological complications. When behind the wheel of a car, these neurological and cognitive impairments can alter the way a car is driven and your teenager may be become a safety hazard to not only themselves but to other drivers, and pedestrians, on the road. If your teen is going to begin driving, it is important, therefore, that you manage the use of medications and their health closely.
Car accidents tend to be more frequent among teenagers who are driving and live with Type 1 diabetes. Fortunately, auto insurance companies are not privy to the health status of our teenagers and, therefore, typically do not rate your diabetic teenager any higher of a premium than other teens in the same age group. But, when an accident occurs, you can expect your car insurance rates will rise as your teenager will then become a risk factor for the insurance company. As a parent, the best way to negate these risks in your diabetic teenager is to closely monitor their compliance with diabetes treatment and encourage safety when they are not feeling well while driving a car. By closely monitoring, you can ensure that your policy premiums will be protected as much as possible and that your teen as a more healthy, and safe, driving experience while living with diabetes.
Sources: Diabetes Care, December 2009, 32: 2177-2180.