Do you drive? I get asked this question very often. The answer is YES. Many disabled people drive cars, as they offer us so much independence and allow us to get around just like others. After approximately fourteen months of having driving lessons from the age of nineteen, I eventually passed my test, FIRST TIME.
You are probably wondering how I can drive despite having a physical disability? Well, I use car adaptations. In my circumstance, my left side of my body is more strong than my right side is, so all I use to drive is my left hand for the steering, and I use my left foot to operate the accelerator and brake. The adaptions I have fitted onto my car, which is the new Ford Puma, are Twin Flip Pedals which allow me to change the pedals around to have a left foot accelerator by pushing the pedal down flips the right foot accelerator out of harm's way. To operate the steering wheel, I have a left-handed steering wheel ball with a Lodgeson R200 10-Way Hand Control attached to it, and this control pad has several buttons on it which I can press at any time to use my indicators, lights, wipers, screen wash and horn. I drive an automatic car, so the gears change automatically.
It's been a whilst now since I passed my test. I learnt to drive with BSM Driving Instructors, who had specially adapted learner driver cars to suit the needs of disabled people. There are many different adaptations to aid all kinds of physical disabilities. Your instructor will assess you to find out which adaptations are most suitable for your needs on your first driving lesson, don't worry, these guys are fully qualified.
Once you have passed your test and you are ready to get your first set of wheels, a charity called Motability run an excellent car leasing scheme. Almost every car company has a Motability Specialist sales representative trained to help and guide you when choosing the right vehicle and adaptations to suit your needs. They also have Motability accredited adaptation technicians who are fully qualified to fit and install all kinds of adaptations.
Here is the Motability website to get you started https://www.motability.org.uk/.
I hope this helps you to get onto the open road. Please drive safely.
A photo of my car's steering wheel with my hand controls fitted on to top left-hand side.