How Disabled People Drive?

How Disabled People Drive?

How disabled people drive their car wheelchair model samanta bullock
Disabled People Driving

I am often asked how I drive a car. I guess it is easy to assume that if I don’t have use of my legs then I am unable to accelerate, brake and change gear.  Having an automatic vehicle solves changing gear.   Braking and accelerating are made possible by the installation of a set of hand controls, which allow me to operate the medals with my hands.  Hand controls are a set of levers attached to the steering column and the pedals.  I push down on the hand controls to brake and pull up to accelerate.  To assist with steering I have a ‘steering ball’ attached to the steering wheel that aids enable steering with one hand whilst operating the hand controls.

I transfer from my wheelchair to the driver’s seats by putting my hands on the top of the open door and the top of the car.  I grab handle in the car can be useful but our current car does not have one. Once in the car I take the wheels of my wheelchair and put them behind the front seats.  I then recline the driver’s seat a little and swing the frame of the wheelchair across my body and place it on the passengers’ seat.  For safety, I use the safety belt in the wheelchair.

This is how I transfer and drive.  Almost any vehicle can be adapted and other people will have different solutions to enable them to drive.

Modifications that can be made to a car include:

  • hand controls for braking and accelerating
  • steering aids
  • clutch conversions
  • seat belt modifications or harnesses
  • special seating
  • wheelchair stowage equipment

In the UK the ‘Motability Scheme’ provides an affordable way for disabled people to lease a car: https://www.motability.co.uk

Mobility is important as it provides independence and gives disabled people the opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities.

I hope you’ve found this article useful, it would be great to know if you have any different methods to drive. If you do, please leave a comment below!

Warm wishes

Sam x