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Adapting your vehicle
Adapting your vehicle
You can get your vehicle adapted so that driving is safe and comfortable
and getting in and out of the car is easier. There are motoring accessories
available for people with upper or lower body disabilities or both.
These accessories include:
- hand controls to operate the accelerator and brake
- steering wheel knobs that help you turn the wheel more easily
and give greater control
- accessories to help you get in and out of your vehicle like wheelchair
hoists, ramps and tail lifts
- cushions, covers and support
- adapted mirrors
- safety belts, seat belts and harnesses
- rotating seats
Adapting your vehicle for upper body disabilities
If you’ve lost the use of one arm or have a weakened arm, you
may consider adaptations including:
- a steering wheel knob fitted to the rim of the steering wheel
- automatic transmission
- direction indicators and the horn within finger reach or as foot
controls, which you can operate without letting go of the wheel
- moving the handbrake to the right of the driver’s seat
- joystick steering
If you have an artificial limb fitted below the elbow you can drive
a car using a special concave limb attachment fitted over the steering
wheel or the gear lever.
Even if you’ve lost the use of both arms, you can still drive
with redesigned car controls. You could also try a foot steering system.
Adapting a vehicle for lower body disabilities
If you’ve lost the use of one of your legs or have reduced usage
in one leg, the adaptations you may consider include:
- an automatic transmission car, which does not require the use
of a clutch
- moving the accelerator on an automatic car to the left side of
the foot brake if you have a right leg disability
- a semi-automatic clutch, which allows you to use a manual gearbox
without clutch pedals
- If you’ve lost the use of both legs, you may consider adaptations
- hand controls, especially with an automatic transmission (these
come in a variety of models)
- steering assistance
If you get your car adapted or hire or buy an adapted car, it's important
to get good advice and training on using the vehicle. This is especially
true for adaptations like a left-foot accelerator.
Adapting your vehicle for easier access
There are accessories and adaptations that can make it easier to get
in and out of your vehicle. This may be particularly important if you’re
in a wheelchair.
You may be able to get into your car from the driver's side, passenger
side or rear (on a hatchback). Your choice of entry will determine the
type of adaptations you need for your vehicle.
For entry from the driver's or passenger's door, you need wide doors
and preferably a sliding and swivelling aid.
Vehicle conversion specialists produce wheelchair accessible vehicles.
The Mobility Advice and Vehicle Information Service (MAVIS) can provide
details of specialists in your area.
Transferring from a wheelchair to your car
It can be difficult to transfer from a wheelchair into a car. You can
use a board, lifting belts or leg lifters. There are also hoists, lifts
(to lift you and your chair into the car) and specially converted cars
or vans that you can drive your wheelchair into.
Find out how to apply for a dropped kerb locally
A dropped kerb may make it easier to get from your car to your house,
if you have to park on the road. The following link will let you enter
details of where you live and then take you to your local authority website
where you can find out how to apply to have a dropped kerb put in outside
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