Auto Bits: Tips for parents of teen drivers with diabetes

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

Any parent who's had a teen leave the house in the car alone for the first time knows that anxious feeling. But for parents of teens with diabetes, there are a few extra things they should make sure their child knows before they are handed the keys for the first time.

"Teenagers with diabetes, like adults, can drive effectively and be safe, but it means developing a plan ahead of time," says Dr. Francine R. Kaufman, chief medical officer and vice president of Global Medical, Clinical and Health Affairs, Medtronic Diabetes. "It's critically important for teens with diabetes to manage their glucose levels.  A low glucose level can impair judgment, which can be particularly dangerous behind the wheel of a car."

The American Diabetes Association recommends teens -- and anyone else -- with diabetes to take these precautions before grabbing their keys:

- Always carry your blood glucose meter and a quick-acting source of glucose in case you experience a blood glucose low. Pull the car over if you feel any signs of a low glucose level, such as feeling shaky, dizzy or confused.

- If you need to take glucose tablets or drink juice to get your blood glucose back to target range, do not get back on the road until you have checked your blood glucose and know that it is back at a safe level.

- If you have a history of high glucose levels, talk to your healthcare team about whether it might affect your ability to be a safe driver.

- Have your eyes examined annually, as people with diabetes are more likely to develop impaired vision.


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Car Q&A

Q: I have a 1990 Eagle Talon Tsi (turbo) that bucks when put into gear for about a minute or two after I start the car. After that the car runs just fine. Even after a drive, when I turn it off for about half an hour it will buck again for a minute after starting it. The technician cannot diagnose the problem because he has only a minute to catch it. What do you think it could be?

A: The bucking for a minute or so on a fuel-injected engine when started, after an engine has sat awhile, usually indicates a fuel injector not spraying the correct fuel ratio. It could be air at the injector, lack of fuel pressure, dirty injector, etc. A very minor head or head gasket leak could also wet the tip of the sparkplug and also cause this problem.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

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