ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Health»
  • Disabilities & the Disabled

Driving a Car as a Disabled or Paraplegic Driver

Updated on March 26, 2012

Driving as a Disabled Teenager

Driving Equipment for Handicapped Persons

Driving as someone with a disability has many different aspects, with one of the most important being the equipment used in order to actually drive the vehicle.

There are lots of different types of handicap driving equipment, and this capsule will list and explain what you'll need.

Firstly you'll need hand controls for your car which allow you to use one hand to push down (or release the pressure) on the pedals through linkage spanning from the handle of your hand controls to the accelerator and brakes.

Remember that if you can use one leg than you only need one of the linkages installed, and there are acceleration/brake only models out there.

  • Next you'll need peripheral equipment which although aren't completely integral to driving are highly recommended for reducing the risks involved and increasing the comfort in driving.
  • These are pedal guards which stop accidental engagement of the pedals over the top as well as stopping the feet getting trapped underneath.
  • There are also steering wheel attachments designed to allow easy steering because the driver will only have one hand to use to turn the wheel.

Paraplegic Driving Equipment

Is Driving Legal if you're Handicapped?

The short answers is yes, the long answer is probably - depending on your condition.

Due to laws passed such as the Americans with Disabilities Act driving is now legal under most conditions.

Seeing as disallowing someone from driving simply because they're disabled is against the law if they can pass the driving test just like everyone else.

  • If they're as capable as others then they should be treated the same way, this doesn't just apply to driving but all aspects of living as a disabled person.
  • However if their condition increases their chance of causing an accident substantially, but which doesn't occur often (and hence they still pass their test) such as having occasional seizures then a doctor must be contacted for professional medical advice.

Generally driving is legal, and with the use of driving equipment is possible for people with even the most extreme conditions.

There's equipment to deal with:

  • Paraplegic
  • Use of one leg
  • Use of one arm
  • Poor grips (from arthritis or other degenerative diseases)
  • Amputees

There's far too much to go into in this one hub but just remember that even the weakest person who can't use their legs and has very little strength in their arms can still drive by using electronic activation hand controls and steering which allow near effortless driving.

Disabled Driving Equipment with Hand Controls

Learning How to Drive

Buying and installing equipment (and doing it legally too!) is one thing, but actually getting behind the wheel again, especially for first time drivers can be very intimidating.

There are really just two main routes to go down if you're looking to start learning to drive:

  1. Driving School. Taking lessons specifically designed to cater for disabled people is the best way to learn... and spend a lot of money too. There's no doubting that wherever you go in the world you'll be paying a lot of money for this kind of specialized teaching.
  2. Taking it slow and steady! This is probably the most common because of its convenience and low cost. Most people in countries like the United States which is very spread out won't even have a driving school to cater for them close by so it won't be on the cards.

Taking it slow incorporates a few vital aspects to start driving safely and confidently again.

  1. The time of day. The best time to drive is very early in the morning, when it's just gotten light, the roads are clear and you're fresh and ready to go.
  2. The right location. Pick roads which you're both familiar with and which aren't often used by many people.
  3. Take a friend/family member. Make sure you have someone watching over you, and start driving slowly and over time build up your confidence and experience.

Ultimately it's important to go at your own pace. Some people can pick up a set of portable hand controls and the next day they're zooming along completely fine.

For others it takes time, and there are barriers to overcome - physical barriers relating to your condition and mental barriers relating to worry and apprehension.

Ask a Question

If you want to learn more about driving as someone with a disability - no matter what that may be - then go right ahead and ask me a question and I'll do what I can to answer it.

Whether you have a question, opinion or you think there's something I should add don't hesitate to write away or help anyone else with their issues too.

I'm glad you've read this far on my hub! All I can say is that if you want to learn more about this topic I suggest you go to my author profile to find out more!

Thanks a lot!

Disability Poll

If you're a disabled person are you..?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      amy 5 years ago

      i have disability in i'm afraid may not drive for the rest of my life.