For many people, motoring is about personal freedom. Perhaps none more so than disabled drivers, for whom a car can bring independence and make all the difference in the world. If you are worried that a disability will stop you from being able to drive, then think again. There are a huge number of clever and practical devices and techniques that have been developed to adapt cars so that disabled owners can drive them. Here the experts at Chartwell Insurance, the disabled car insurance specialist, offer some pointers on adapted cars for disabled drivers to get you started.
Hand operated brake and accelerator controls allow those with impaired leg functions to safely and comfortably control the car. Sirus Automotive is one of the suppliers offering both mechanical and electronic systems. Foot controls can also be modified so that only one leg is required, and they can be adjusted for left or right foot use, for example by swapping the brake and accelerator pedal positions.
There are also solutions for those who need help controlling the steering wheel. These include wheel knobs that help you turn the wheel and special limb attachments for those who have lost a forearm. You’ll find a range of steering wheel spinners at Mountside Mobility. There are other solutions, too, including joysticks and systems for steering by foot.
Another issue is getting in and out of the car. Vehicles with lowered floors and swivel seats cushions can help, and there is a variety of wheelchair hoists on the market. Back to Sirus Automotive, which offers ‘drive from wheelchair’ vehicle solutions, and says it is the UK’s premier converter – a claim backed by a page full of customer stories that should encourage disabled people who are considering learning or relearning to drive in an adapted car.
Wheelchair Cars offers a selection of wheelchair-drive and wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The company also has a self-drive wheelchair-accessible hire car division, based in Manchester.
A host of sites offer advice and help with disability driving. A good place to start is the direct.gov.uk ‘adapting your vehicle’ page.
As with any car modification, it’s essential that you tell your insurer about any changes you make to your vehicle. Chartwell is happy to offer advice and insurance quotations on any adapted vehicle you are considering.