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.