If you have a disability, driving might be able to offer you something in particular. People who are disabled are often forced to get around in ways that are different to everyone else. This can lead to problems, but it can also mean that cars can offer a solution that is truly life-changing. There are some particular things that you should really know about becoming a driver when you have a disability. It’s not the same as it would be for other people. There are parts of the process that are unique, as well as help and perks that can help disabled people become drivers. Here’s everything that you should know about driving with a disability.
It’s More Common Than Ever
More and more people are now deciding that driving is for them in spite of their disability. Not that long ago, it would have been very rare for disabled people to drive. But that’s not the case anymore. The advances in the technology that allow disabled people to drive are massively important. It’s possible for disabled drivers to control, drive and steer their cars in a way that suits them and their specific needs. In the near future, it might even be possible for driverless cars to be used by disabled people. But even now things are moving in a very positive direction for drivers with disabilities. So, now is a very good time to think about learning to drive and finding a car.
Finding an Instructor and Taking the Test
Going through the actual process of learning to drive is daunting for anyone. But it can be especially daunting if you have a disability. You obviously can’t go to any old instructor. First of all, you will have to fill out the correct forms and let the relevant people know about your disability. When all the bureaucratic stuff has been sorted out, you will need to find an instructor. There are plenty of driving instructors that have experience of teaching people with disabilities how to drive. When you go through your practical driving test, the adaptations you need will be in place and taken into account. You can go through Pass Plus driver training if you want to gain more skills and confidence once you’ve got your license too.
Cars Can Now be Adapted
As I mentioned briefly above, cars can now be adapted to meet your needs. But what are the adaptations and how can they be put in place for drivers like you? There are so many different ways in which cars can be adapted these days. Steering is one of the most common things that has to be changed. There is the option to use an electronic joystick. For other people, controlling speed, acceleration and braking is where the difficulty lies. For those kinds of adaptations, hand controls can be fitted. There are multiple forms of hand controls, and you should find the solution that is most comfortable for you. Everyone is different, and that’s why there are plenty of different options.
Motability Scheme to Help Disabled Drivers
The Motability scheme allows disabled people to swap part of their living allowance for a new car. This can will be adapted in the right way so that you can use it properly. 3 million people have now been able to take advantage of this scheme, so it could be a real help for you. Don’t dismiss the option until you’ve looked into everything that it could provide. On top of the car, there are many other expenses that will be covered. Insurance for two drivers, servicing, repairs, breakdown assistance and a mileage allowance are included. Therefore, you get a lot from the scheme if you choose to take advantage of it. Many types of car can be bought. For example, Ford’s on Motability, as are many other leading brands.
Choosing the Right Car
Choosing the right car for you will be another step you need to take. There are certain considerations to make. First of all, it’s important to choose a car that comes under the Motability scheme, as I mentioned above. And it’s also important that the car has the specifications to meet your needs. Is the door large enough for you to get in and out of comfortably? Is there enough space in the back for you to store the things you need to take with you when you travel? These are the kinds of questions that you will need to answer. Doing so will help you select the best car for you. You’ll also need to make sure that there is enough space for whoever might be travelling with you.
People with disabilities and mobility problems can get a blue badge that they display in their car. This shows people that they are permitted to park in spaces that show a disability sign or logo. These spaces tend to be in the best positions closest to exits or shops. This means that there is less distance for the person to travel to their destination once they get out of their car. This can make a big difference to you as a disabled driver, so it’s worth seeing if you are eligible for a blue badge. You have to submit an application and wait for it to be processed. Once that’s done, you will be sent the blue badge, and you can start using it in your car.
The main reason to do all the things discussed above is to get more independence. We’ve all heard about the freedom of the open road, and that really is a reality when you are a disabled driver. Many people have spoken about how their lives were changed by learning to drive and having their own adapted car. It means that you won’t have to be reliant on other people or public transport when you want to go from one place to another. That’s a pretty big deal, and it’s something you should think carefully about. There might be no better chance to gain more independence in your everyday life.