If you’re someone who has a disability, you may have already had a few struggles with your driving career. Some disabilities don’t even allow the person to be able to learn to drive, and that’s a shame. Those of us lucky enough to be able to get behind the wheel should have as easy a time doing so as possible. And that includes those with a disability.
Driving can indeed be difficult if you do have a disability, so what can you do to make it easier? Luckily, there are a number of options on the table. Some require more cash than others, but it is possible to get financial help. Whether you’re after a basic wheelchair, a car or a high-powered scooter, you deserve to be able to drive. So don’t let anything stop you!
So, without further ado, here are a couple of big ways to make driving easier if you’re struggling.
The great thing about cars and other vehicles is that they can usually be modified. Everything from the wheels to the pedals can usually be changed to make your life a little easier, so don’t despair. If your disability impairs your driving experience, take a look at your vehicle and identify areas that could be improved.
In terms of the foot controls – namely, the pedals – you do have some options to make them more accessible. One, you can change foot pedal controls so they can be controlled by hand. You’d then swap some hand controls so that they can be used by your feet. This is useful if your hands are stronger than your legs, or vice versa. Modifying the pedals can also move them closer to your seat if distance is an issue.
Additionally, it is possible to utilise an adaptation that will allow you to stay in your wheelchair while driving, or in a moving vehicle. You should be careful your wheelchair doesn’t interfere with driving or your seatbelt, as you’ll put yourself at risk. You may also have to fork out for a special wheelchair to accomplish this feat, so only consider it if you can bear the financial burden.
You can also alter your car doors and windows to make them easier to get out of and operate, respectively. If your seat is getting in the way, install a special pedal that can push the chair back and away. Consider changing the doors so they open upwards instead of outwards. Believe it or not, it’s actually a common modification to be able to make!
Of course, sometimes driving can be too financially draining or difficult even with modifications. It’s not always easy to find the resources or the cash that you need to make various upgrades. Luckily, there are ways that government schemes can help you, which can offer everything from spare tyres to breakdown help.
The Motability scheme was set up in order to provide disabled motorists with the help they need on the roads. It’s a system that’s designed especially for those in need, meaning everything is tailored as it should be. You can contact RRG Motability for more information – it’s worth reading up on if you feel like you’re out of options.
Road tax deductions
All those car modifications can cost a lot of money, and finding the cash can prove difficult. Luckily, help is at hand. If your car is used solely by you, you may be eligible for a road tax deduction or may not have to pay it at all. You can enquire with your local government branch to see if you qualify. Even if the car is for you, but you are just a passenger, you can still be up for this benefit. You don’t necessarily have to be the driver.
Of course, it may not always be safe, or practical, for you to drive on the roads. That’s where pavement vehicles come in. As the name implies, they’re specially built to be used on the sidewalks and paths that run alongside road traffic. They range from wheelchairs to scooters to buggies, and each type has different uses and costs.
The most basic of these, the wheelchair, is usually offered for free if you have a short-term or long-term walking problem. Many chairs can fold or recline for easier storage, and some even have digital displays. Of course, you need to make sure the chair you choose is tailor-made for your height and weight, or else it’ll be uncomfortable. Wheelchairs can also be insured against accidental damage, so it’s a good idea to do so if you’re usually out and about.
Scooters and buggies are known as class two vehicles. Class two vehicles can only be used on the pavement. Class three types, however, can be used on the road too. Class three vehicles have their own set of rules and regulations, so brush up on them before you start driving.
Learning to drive
If you’re still struggling with the very first hurdle, then fear not. The world over, there are specialist schools and instructors that are good at helping disabled people learn to drive. They can take into account your every need and adjust their lessons and vehicle accordingly.
One example of this is Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation for the Disabled. An organisation built with the sole purpose of helping those in need, it can offer you driving tuition or can recommend instructors.
All in all, just make sure your instructor is aware of your situation. Every single person on the planet has the right to drive a car, and you are no different. Take the time to explain what you need from them, and they’ll be happy to help. Even if it’s your third lesson or your thirtieth, the same is true.
Hopefully this article was of use to you. Disability and driving is a tricky subject to handle, and the information on it can be difficult to find. Just remember that you have the right to be on that road too, follow some of the above steps, and you’ll be golden!