Driving can be stressful at the best of times, but even more so if you’re a driver who has issues with mobility. If you have a physical disability, driving can be a challenge as you may come up against obstacles that are not obvious to others. Many disabled drivers struggle with fatigue while on the road, or perhaps find it difficult to concentrate for long periods of time due to a high level of pain – so we understand that life behind the wheel can certainly have its problems.
However, there are many ways to improve your experience as a driver. With a few small changes, you have the potential to have a much more comfortable trip. Below, we’ve put together a list of driving tips for people with physical disabilities to make your journeys easier, safer, and more enjoyable. Read on for our expert advice, recommendations, and tips for driving with disabilities.
Driving With A Disability – Tip #1: Adapt Your Vehicle
Have you ever wondered “How do disabled drivers adapt to their cars?” Well, the answer is that there are a multitude of options available. By making sure that your vehicle has the correct adaptations for your condition, you’re sure to have a much easier journey. Luckily, the list of potential vehicle adaptations for drivers with reduced mobility is constantly expanding and improving.
Some examples of the most common or popular vehicle adaptations include:
- Wheelchair hoists
- Swivel seats for both driver and passenger
- Pedal extensions
- Hand controls
- Electric wheelchair lifts
- Wheelchair restraints
Some adaptations are even more simple and cost-effective, such as the addition of extra mirrors to improve visibility on the road. By making necessary changes to your vehicle, you can ensure it serves you in the best possible way, making your time on the road much easier and safer.
Driving With A Disability – Tip #2: Only Drive When Well-Rested
This is not a recommendation for disabled drivers alone, but applies to everyone behind the wheel. Fatigue is one of the major causes of road accidents, and a leading reason for fatigue is beginning a drive while already feeling exhausted. Ensure you get a good night’s sleep before you undertake any long journeys, and never drive if you’re already very tired, as this can be extremely dangerous.
An important addition to this point is the advice to take many breaks along the way, to give yourself a chance to keep energy levels up. Make sure you stop along the route as often as you need, ideally before you even get tired, to be as safe as possible. If you do find yourself becoming tired while driving, pull over immediately and don’t drive any further if you continue to feel fatigued.
Driving With A Disability – Tip #3: Plan Your Route
If you find yourself getting flustered or stressed while you drive or park, make sure you know where you’re going beforehand. By doing your research on the route ahead of you, you’re much more likely to feel at ease on the road. This applies to physically disabled drivers specifically, who may find it difficult to walk long distances.
That’s when a disabled parking permit can come in handy – see our final tip below!
Driving With A Disability – Tip #4: Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit
With a valid disabled parking permit, you can access specially designed and reserved parking spaces at your favorite locations, which reduces the need to walk excessive distances. What’s more, many of these spaces are wider and can therefore serve vehicles with adaptations such as wheelchair ramps. Having the knowledge that parking spaces are available at your destination can remove so much of the tension associated with parking and driving in general for those with reduced mobility.
Check out our site for a list of the conditions that qualify for a disabled parking permit in your state – those with severely limited mobility are indeed eligible. In fact, many states offer free disabled parking permits to those in need – you simply need to complete and pay for the medical consultation for certification. So what are you waiting for? Apply for your disabled parking permit today!