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Adapting a Car for a Disabled Driver

By: Jonathan Webb - Updated: 15 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
Driver Car Disabled Adapt Modifications

Some disabled people worry that , because of their disability, it will be impossible or very difficult for them to purchase a car or that the costs involved in having a car adapted will be beyond their financial means. This, however, is not always the case and many disabled people are now able to take to the roads in their own cars.

Before you purchase a vehicle you should ensure that the car you want is able to be adapted to meet your needs. It may be an idea to contact the company that will carry out the adaptations to your car to confirm that the car you wish to buy is suitable for these modifications.

Although having a car adapted so that it is suitable for your needs will cost money, it may be possible to get some financial assistance towards this. It is very important to research this before making a purchase or you could find yourself with a nice new car that is unable to receive the desired modifications due to the high cost of adapting the vehicle.

Adapting Your Car

Getting your car adapted so that driving is a safe and comfortable experience and access is easier can be achieved by installing a number of items to your vehicle. These include hand operated brake and acceleration controls, a control column type accessory to help with steering, a knob fitted to your steering wheel to make turning the wheel easier, adapted mirrors, safety belts and rotating seats.

If you suffer with a weakened arm it is also possible to have your car adapted for foot operation of the horn and direction indicators. If you use an artificial arm fitted below your elbow it may also be possible to drive using a specially fitted limb attachment affixed to your steering wheel. In some instances, where a driver has lost the use of both arms, it may be possible to adapt a vehicle for foot steering.

For drivers who have a weakened leg it may be useful to drive a car with automatic transmission, as this avoids the need to use the clutch pedal. It is also possible to move the pedals to suit your stronger leg or install a semi-automatic clutch that enables a driver to use a car with a manual gear box, but without the need for a clutch pedal. If you have no leg use it is possible to have a car adapted for hand control

Before going on a long journey for the first time in your adapted car it is useful to drive just short distances for a while in order that you can get used to the handling of your adapted car.

If you are a wheelchair user it may be difficult to transfer from a wheelchair into your vehicle. It is possible to use accessories such as a board and lifting belts to help with this. Also available are specially adapted vehicles that can enable you to drive your wheelchair into them. You may also find it easier, if you have to park your vehicle on the road, to move from your car to where you live if a drop kerb is available. If one is not outside your home it may be worth contacting your local council to find out if one can be installed.

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Hi, my special needs daughter chokes a lot in the her car seat but she’s out growing it and we will need a wheelchair accessible van/car, id like to have her in the front in her own buggy with the passenger seat removed! Is this legal and possible?
Gemma - 15-Oct-17 @ 6:21 PM
How come there are hardly any replies/answers to comments in the Discussion ? I need to know about any adaptions that can easily be attatched on a temporary basis onto the clutch pedal as my Left leg is too short to operate it properly and I would like to be able to fit it to any vehicle I drive.Hoping for a reply.
Michael Mac - 19-Sep-17 @ 4:06 PM
I am trying to find information on modifying a uk standard car to have accelerator and brake controls hand operated. Is this possible and who can anyone direct me to a company who can do the modification?
SteveK - 20-Jun-17 @ 10:46 PM
Where is the company to change the control to only hand , any address or phone no
Z - 29-May-17 @ 10:15 AM
Need steering wheel controls for brakes and gas peddle, what do I do to see if my car can be adapted.
None - 9-May-17 @ 12:14 PM
Hopalong - Your Question:
I have had a stroke and my car is a BMW manual I am having difficulty changing gear with my left hand, my driving instructor has said I would be ok in an automatic so would like to know how much it would cost to change my car from manual to an automatic.

Our Response:
You can find out more via the Motability scheme here, which you may be eligible to apply for. If you wish to change your car independently of this scheme you would have to approach your BMW garage/manufacturer directly.
DisabledTravelAdvice - 28-Apr-17 @ 11:41 AM
I have had a stroke and my car is a BMW manual I am having difficulty changing gear with my left hand, my driving instructor has said I would be ok in an automatic so would like to know how much it would cost to change my car from manual to an automatic .
Hopalong - 27-Apr-17 @ 6:17 PM
i have a drop foot what would it cost to have my fix so i can drive. thank y
drop - 23-Mar-17 @ 12:56 AM
I have a adapted automatic car with over ring accelerator and push brake so I do not require my feet to drive however if my feet are in plaster cast am I still insured to drive?
Kirsty - 13-Mar-17 @ 8:30 PM
Got to cange my mobilty car to automatic. Doctors orders..
pebbles - 19-Jan-17 @ 1:56 AM
Hi, since developing nerve compression at L4/L5I have foot drop of my right foot with reduced mobility/sensation and also power of lower right leg, which is I'm told permanent. I am wondering if it is possible to adapt a manual drive Seat to drive myself as have been immobile since february??? Would appreciiate any advice?
Trashcan - 1-Jan-17 @ 10:26 PM
I am a recent lower right leg amputee below the knee and want to return to driving. I have a manual transmission Peugeot 407 and wondered about the cost of converting the pedals to left hand accelerator and right hand clutch, is this permissable and approximately how much does this cost?
Bob - 14-Nov-16 @ 5:06 PM
My son has cerebral palsy and right side hemiplegia and we took him to an assessment centre when he was 17 were we was lucky enough to buy him a dual pedal vehicle as he needs left foot accelerator with a blue tooth steering ball automatic vehicle but now this is getting old and we are looking to buy him a vehicle again with good fuel comsumption but we don't have a clue were to start and we don't have a great amount of money so please could anyone help thanks x
Babs - 29-Sep-16 @ 9:25 PM
I have been receiving the standard P.I.P since 2014.Since then I have had 5 operations on my left knee and I now find I can't bend the knee easily so I can get in my car. I realise I need some modifications but I've no idea how to get this done. My present car is a Seat Already but the dealer I purchased it from is no longer with the Seat company. Any suggestions welcomed.RA
Jetpus - 12-Sep-16 @ 11:47 PM
My daughter lost her entitlement to her mobility car through the new scheam and lost her dla as well, I bought her an automatic car because she lost her right leg since 3 months oldI'm wonderering if anyone can or any company can fit a duel acceleraror so she can be mobile again I would be most thankful also my daughter would be over the moon,my daughter doesn't know I have mentioned her in hereher names Ashleigh and just turned 21, thankyouartyy3025
Artyyy3025 - 20-Jul-16 @ 5:51 PM
i had 2 strokes causing me lose the use of my right hand and arm. i also developed epilepsy as a cause of this, although my medication has stopped me from having seizures and i haven't had one now for 3 years. Would i be able to drive a car in these circumstances and what modifications would i need in order to drive a car? i have a full uk driving licence but always assumed i wouldn't be able drive because of my disability that is until i heard that they make cars to disable drivers with 1 arm.
neene - 30-Jun-16 @ 6:53 PM
Disable person can get tourist licence in India
Shashikant - 11-Jun-16 @ 4:45 PM
Meme- Your Question:
I have a mobility car for my son. I am the person who is on all the paper work and my ex husband is a named driver. Does my ex husband have any legal right to demand the mobility car when he takes our son out (even though he access to another car) if I took his name off the car and told him he could no longer use it, does he have a leg to stand on?

Our Response:
The car has to be used by, or for the direct benefit of, the disabled person, but does not mean that the disabled person needs to be in the car for every journey. However, if the car is adapted to your son, then it would stand to reason the other named driver would wish to use it when he takes your son out, as that is one of the purposes of the car.
DisabledTravelAdvice - 14-Apr-16 @ 12:52 PM
I have a mobility car for my son. I am the person who is on all the paper work and myex husband is a named driver. Does my ex husband have any legal right to demand the mobility car when he takes our son out(even though he access to another car) if I took his name off the car and told him he could no longer use it,does he have a leg to stand on?
Meme - 13-Apr-16 @ 6:57 PM
So I have ms, my right leg fatigues and i get ' drop foot 'when walking or driving distances.Can you recommend anything as its my brake and accelerator foot.
Ped - 15-Jan-16 @ 11:33 PM
Hi looking to see if there is an adaptation to work a clutch with hand control as I have no power in my left leg due to an accident.
Jeff - 4-Dec-15 @ 1:20 PM
Had polio as a child and it left me with a paralyzed left arm and limited use of my right arm (about 50-60%). Legs are OK. My problem is that as I've aged my right arm tires more quickly from driving. More specifically, from driving newer cars. Older cars like my 2003 Jeep Cherokee are much easier for me because the steering is so easy. But, the steering on my wife's 2011 Kia Optima wears me out after about an hour because it takes so much more effort. Is there a new car on the market with effortless, or at least easier, power steering? Or, do you know where I could go to get more info on this subject? Appreciate your reply.
Doyle - 25-Aug-15 @ 11:21 PM
Basically what it is. Is my mum is disabled and me and my mum were chatting before about me starting driving because it would benefit her getting places eg doctors hospital or anything.. I'm am 19 years of age what's the best to do I currently don't have a job either
ash - 15-Jul-15 @ 5:59 PM
Hi all, you can check with Guidosimplex hand controls. They have a lot of accelerators, brakes, clutches and more to offer. Just Google. Product quality is the best in the market.
Mark - 22-Jun-15 @ 12:34 PM
Can my vs golf blue motion be adapted to allow operation of the foot brake from the steering column
Sue - 13-Jun-15 @ 8:16 PM
@Donbedo The research charity Ricability has published a number of guides that look in depth at the various types of adaptations available to help you drive if you have a disability. Also, its guides contain details of suppliers who can carry out any adaptations. I'm afraid I can't advise you on costing as that is dependent upon your specific needs. Good luck.
DisabledTravelAdvice - 14-Oct-14 @ 2:24 PM
Good day to you on your staff and theservice you are advertising, I have been suffering from a multicomplex disorder in my lower limbs thirteen years now. Some time when I'm driving too long I can't feel my leg I am starting to worried about losses my license,I drive a four year oldHonda hybrid can it be adapted to a hand break, I am self employed relief chef, I have been working 14 hours a day some time 65 hours a week. I depend on my car a lot please help me fined somewhere that can assist in the adapted of my car and how much it will cost me. I have a disabled blue badge, I am not on any disable benefit, I also live in Kendal lake District closer to home is better but if I have to drive to were the place is I don't mind thank you.. Kind Regards Desmond D Durant
Donbedo - 14-Oct-14 @ 12:38 AM
Hi there My father has problems with his feet when driving.He drives a peugeot 406. Is it possible to make modifications to this type of car to avoid using his feet and if so how much would this cost and how long would it take? Many thanks for any help that you can offer. Kind regards Jacky Conway
Don't have one - 26-Sep-14 @ 8:45 AM
My brother in law has cerebral palsy & his parents are now both in their 80s. The adapted vehicle they use is mechanically sound but proving more arduous for them to get their son in and out of the vehicle. Is it possible to have a more up to date retrofit done on and existing car and if so who is our nearest provider? They live in East Sussex. thank you Carol
Carol - 14-Aug-14 @ 7:49 AM
My partner has lost thé use of his left arm after a fall. What modifications can be suggested to make it safe to drive his Mercedes automatic caronly problems are reaching switch for reverse and indicatorscan anyone help ?
moo - 15-Jul-14 @ 3:17 PM
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