Many disabled people use aids and adaptations to make their lives easier. I use a crutch and a range of groovy gadgets around my home to help me with things that would otherwise be tricky or painful. As we recently pointed out, these don't have to be all grey and boring
any more, either!
Photo credit: na0905
With cars, many disabled people find that there are adaptations and fixes that can make driving accessible to them, too. They can make a big difference to whether somebody is able to embark on learning to drive or not, so it is vital to find out what is available. The Motability Scheme allows disabled people to pay the Higher Rate Mobility Allowance from their DLA, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of their PIP, their the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or their Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) in exchange for the rental of a specially adapted car.
In return, you get a brand new car every three years and the insurance, breakdown cover, tax, servicing and repairs and more are all covered for you. You can find out exactly what you are entitled to if you join the Motability Scheme here
. If you qualify for the scheme, the first thing you do is choose your car. Consider whether you need room to store a wheelchair or other equipment, and the kind of driving and distances you will be doing. You also need to take into account any adaptations you will need. Motability puts these into three main categories:
Driving adaptations to help improve your driving experience
Stowage adaptations - these allow you to stow your scooter or wheelchair
Access adaptations which help you get in and out of the car.
Their website has an interactive tool
to help you to work out the most useful adaptations for your situation. The second stage is to find a local Motability dealer (and there are 5,000 across the country, so that shouldn't be too difficult!). Then, order your vehicle. There is tonnes of information on the Motability website
and they also have a telephone helpline
to answer any specific questions about your situation. It is worth taking the time at this stage to make sure everything is right, rather than ending up with a car that isn't quite suitable. Give them a ring
and, if you qualify and the scheme seems like a good deal to you, you can put the process into motion. Next, you need a driving instructor and our next post will cover the issues that disabled learners can face
, and how a suitable driving instructor can help.