Don't let diabetes interfere with your road trip

There's nothing like a road trip to get you out of town in a hurry — just load up the car and go. But you'll want to shield yourself from some of the hazards inherent in road travel, like boredom, gas-station junk food and driving difficulties. Keep these tips in mind to arrive at your destination safe, alert and refreshed.

Don't let diabetes interfere with your road trip

Stash snacks in cup holders

  • Before you leave, fill a plastic drinking cup with sliced carrots and other veggies, or whole wheat pita chips.
  • Put some low-fat dip or hummus in another cup. Set these in the cup holders next to your seat — it's that easy to enjoy a diabetes friendly snack while you're on the road.

For longer trips, stock a cooler

Junk food is doubly tempting when you're travelling by car. You're confined in a small space without much to do, and every time you stop for gas you keep thinking about how good a bag of salty chips would be.

  • Having the right cooler — and stocking it well — can save you thousands of calories and hundreds of fat grams, not to mention money.
  • Small coolers fit neatly behind the passenger seat of your car. Fill it with bottled water, pre-cut carrots, red pepper slices, fruit, low-fat cheese sticks and containers of low-fat dip, yogurt or hummus. Top these items with a thick layer of ice.

Arm yourself with sandwiches

Your cooler can save you from more than the convenience store — it can also protect you from those ubiquitous fast-food joints.

  • Tuck turkey and sun-dried tomatoes with a dollop of spicy mustard into pita-bread pockets, or make a wrap with grilled chicken breast, spinach leaves and red onion topped with zesty salsa and low-fat sour cream in a whole wheat flour tortilla.

Don't leave your diabetes at home

When it comes to managing your diabetes, your body doesn't care if you're on vacation.

  • The same standards for checking your blood sugar, eating healthy meals at regular intervals and getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day still apply.

Bring an audiobook

Many bookworms in the passenger seat get motion sickness and reading isn't an option for the driver.

  • Before you leave for your trip, hit your bookstore, local library or internet and buy or rent some audiobooks.
  • You'll find plenty of thrillers, romances, biographies and humorous books to enrich your drive.

Only drive when its safe

Having low blood sugar while you're driving can endanger you and other motorists.

  • If you ever feel the symptoms (such as dizziness, sweating, shakiness and confusion) while you're behind the wheel, pull over as soon as you safely can.
  • If your blood sugar is low, drink juice or eat some hard candy or glucose tablets.
  • Wait 15 minutes and check your blood sugar again.

You should resume driving only when your blood sugar level is within the normal range.

Seek medical professionals' advice

Diabetes can cause several health issues that affect your driving ability, namely, blurry vision and nerve problems in your feet that can make it difficult to work the gas and brake pedals.

  • Be sure to see your eye doctor at least once a year, and have your primary care physician check your feet regularly.
  • If you think that vision problems or foot numbness already interferes with your ability to drive, an occupational therapist or a driver rehabilitation specialist may help you learn how to compensate for these issues.

With a little preparation and planning, you can have fun on your road trip and keep your diabetes in check. Bon voyage!

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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