Getting Your Car Adapted
Getting the right adaptations for your car can be difficult and time-consuming if you are a disabled driver.
- Motability Scheme – provides information on over 500 car adaptations and videos showing how some of them work. Also you can get your car adapted through the scheme.
- Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RiCD) – has information about choosing a car, car adaptations and driving for people with a range of disabilities.
Car Adaptations I Use
On a slightly off topic, I would like to show you some of the adaptations that I use. Who knows? You may find it useful.
This works by inferred connection with the car. As I can only use one hand, it allows me to steer with the long handle and reach out with my thumb for one of the buttons, the indicators and the horn placed close to the centre so they are easy to get to.
Occasionally, I’ll accidentally press the horn when trying to turn the indicators off but it works well and I’d not be able to drive without it.
There are different versions of this stick.
There is the 7-way—which means you control only 7 buttons:
- dipped lights,
- full beam
- nighttime illumination
- hazard (at request only)
My one is the 10-way which is the 7 above plus
- front wipers
- front washers
Then there is the 13-way and the 13-way with lights.
- Rear washer
- Rear wiper
- headlights (13+ lights only)
At the time of ordering my car, I was told that the 13-way with lights was not available in the UK which is a shame because that would really help me out. However, when I win my PIP battle and get back onto Motability, I will ask if that has changed in the last four years.
This adaption can easily come off by pressing the button on the steering wheel if you need to reverse the adaption for any reason. An example of this is if you have another person named as able to drive your car but they cannot use your adaptions.
I have the twin-flip accelerator. I don’t think this is available in manual cars because of the nature of this adaption.
In automatic cars, the accelerator is usually on the right-side of the car but because my right side does not have the strength needed to manage speed, it would not be practical for the accelerator to be on the right—and probably not safe.
So, this allows the accelerator to be on the left when I am driving it, giving me control of the speed of the car as my left leg is more responsive than my right.
It is also reversible, being able to flip onto the right-side so that another driver is able to drive the car aside from the disabled person.
I also have an easy-release hand-brake that helps me to release it and get my car moving
Motability is great! They give you 40 hours free driving lessons if you meet their criteria and you pass the theory test in twelve hours of the lessons. They help you find an instructor that is familiar with the adaptions you need.
The closest instructor to me was in Nottingham, roughly 90 minutes from where I lived. However, I probably wasn’t the easiest student to teach. My lane discipline was awful, I had no idea how to drive across roundabouts and my advanced planning was limited. All common with new drivers, but I didn’t seem to improve on these even after thirty hours.
Thankfully, my dad helped me by taking me places frequently. However, I still hadn’t passed my test by the time the forty hours had come. So, Dad and I went out driving even more and paying my instructor for a two-hour lesson just before my test.
I took my test twice… but I passed!
Now I drive everywhere!