The drive to live an independent lifestyle is a factor which motivates a huge number of people living with disabilities. Depending on where you live, a big part of that may mean gaining (or regaining) the confidence to get behind the wheel and operate a car.
If you already had a driving license when you became disabled, by law, you must notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if your medical circumstances reach a point where you’re no longer able to drive safely.
This is something to discuss with your GP, but the best thing to do may be to surrender your licence voluntarily until you’ve made the adaptations you require to qualify again. This tends to speed up the re-issuing process.
On the other hand, if you’re applying to drive for the first time then the process of applying to drive is very similar to those without disabilities. Just apply for your provisional license as normal, fill it out with details of your situation (which will probably involve filling out a medical-in-confidence form provided by the DVLA) and go from there.
It’s likely this process will take some time and include you attending a medical examination, so the sooner you apply, the sooner you’ll get your provisional.
It’s important to bear in mind that the DVLA are very much on your side through this process, and will only consider revoking your ability to drive if doing so would endanger yourself or other road users.
In most cases, you’ll be re-issued your license which will be valid until you turn 70, after which point you’ll be re-assessed every few years. If it’s though that your individual case needs special attention paid to it, you could be issued with a restricted license that needs to be renewed every one, two or three years.
If it’s decided that your condition disqualifies you from driving entirely, you’ll be presented with options to appeal the decision if you feel you want to. These will come from the DVLA themselves, but you can get additional help from organisations like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Driving Mobility, a network of independent organisations who offer advice on issues just like this.
Once your paperwork is in order, it’s time to look into the technicalities of what you need out of an adapted car. Generally, adaptations made to a disabled person’s vehicle will fall under one of three categories:
Of course, the adaptations which fall under these categories are as varied as the situations which make them necessary. You could be looking at hand controls on your steering wheel to replace the function of pedals, rooftop storage for a wheelchair if there’s insufficient space in the boot or swivel seats to make transferring in and out of the car easier.
Your options will ultimately come down to modifying your existing car, which will give you the familiarity of a vehicle you’re used to, or buying an already modified vehicle that suits your needs, which may work out cheaper if you part-exchange your old car.
The Motability Scheme will be able to help you not only work out the type of adaptations that are right for you, but also help with funding towards making that happen in some cases.
Singlewell is committed to providing quality wheelchair-accessible vehicles and adapted cars in Kent, helping the local community get back on the road in record time. Get in touch today and let’s talk about the car that’s right for you.
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