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Adapting a Car for a Disabled Driver

By: Jonathan Webb - Updated: 13 Feb 2020 | 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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I have problems operating the clutch and would ask for details of any modification available to remove the clutch pedal and replace it with a hand operated paddle and actuator. In the event of installing such a modification am I required to notify either the DoT or DVLA
none - 13-Feb-20 @ 10:46 AM
I cannot use my right leg to make an emergency stop. What is the solution?
Tony - 27-Jan-20 @ 3:56 PM
Where do I put my spinning knob on the wheel as cannot use my right arm properly as broken and cannot operate so have yo drive left handed and right bottom of right arm
ROSS - 5-Jan-20 @ 4:40 PM
Is it just the Mercedes that have the automatic gear stick on the steering column are there any other manufacturers who do this type of gear stick set up on a vehicle similar in size to a Nissan Xtrail?
Joe - 29-Dec-19 @ 8:31 PM
I have a weak grip in my left hand and cannot drive, I want an auto with controls on the right. Can you help me with this?
Tim - 24-Oct-19 @ 4:08 PM
I have weak left hand and unable to drive. I would like to have an automatic car with controls on the right Can you help me with this?
Tim - 24-Oct-19 @ 4:05 PM
I have questions are states responsible for ensuring the adaptation for disable drivers are implemented? Where should a safety issue such as this reported in Montgomery AL? Help please this person is endangering other drivers.
DV - 9-Aug-19 @ 8:28 PM
Do I need to let Dvla know that I have modified my vehicle?
Wolf - 8-Apr-19 @ 6:09 PM
My right knee is not working and so I need an automatic that can use cruise control and minimise my use of that knee.
mindus - 27-Feb-19 @ 8:55 PM
my right knee is not strong and so I need an automatic carwith cruise control so minimum use of my right leg. I do not envisage driving vast distances, my mileage last year was under 1000 , but the convenience of having independent mobility would be a God send
mindus - 27-Feb-19 @ 8:51 PM
Hi what are the adaptions available to have controls hand controlledbrake/ accelerator /due to loss of strength in legs I have seen details somewhere but cant trace them
ASPI - 9-Feb-19 @ 9:17 PM
Anyone with a right leg and 2 arms can drive an automatic car with no adaptation needed. I am selling an automatic Peugeot 206 for £2,500, interested? 07743791835
joanie - 14-Jul-18 @ 7:14 PM
An exciting new BBC motoring series are looking for young drivers, between the ages of 17 and 21, whose vehicles are in need of a makeover. We are wanting to represent the UK population fairly within our series of 20 shows, and we’re particularly interested in receiving applicants from young disabled drivers. If you, or someone you know is interested in applying for the series, follow this link: esnorth.tv/takepart ... the application window will close on 15th June 2018. email me directly for more info: edd.brockbank@esnorth.tv
Edd from Endemol Shi - 5-Jun-18 @ 4:16 PM
A friend of mine wishes to have his car adapted so that all the controls are around the steering wheel. Can you advise me please where he can have these adaptions carried out.He is living in Dorset. Thank you
Trish - 5-Apr-18 @ 6:29 PM
I have have my toes am pervaded my right foot I also have a drop foot I would like to drive agains
WoodyI - 19-Mar-18 @ 1:46 PM
Hi have motorhome that is a manual looking have autoclutch fited to it as i have back problems struggle with clutch seen a kit with button on stick can advise where can get this done and cost please
paul mason - 28-Feb-18 @ 4:20 PM
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
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
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