10 Adaptations [+ Extra Info About Car Conversions] for Disabled Drivers
Is it possible to drive a car with a disability?
Absolutely – and there’s many options available.
Getting around by driving a car offers an incredible amount of freedom for any individual and disabled individuals should have that same freedom available to them.
In fact, over 50,000 people have converted or fitted adaptations to their car.
What are adaptations?
Adaptations (also known as car conversions) are tools that can be added on to your car to make your life easier to get around in your car.
In short, you’re adapting your car to work for you.
In this article, we’ll be covering:
- The types of adaptations you can get,
- Push/pull device
- Left foot accelerators
- Pedal extensions
- Easy release handbrake
- Indicator switch
- Steering ball
- Scooter hoists – 2 way & 4 way
- Rooftop stowage
- Transfer plates
- Swivel seat
- The process of adapting your car
- Financial help via Motability
Firstly, not every car may be suitable to be converted for adaptations. The best thing to do is to get in touch with us with the make and model of your car and we’ll be able to tell you which adaptations are available.
So what adaptations are available to make your car easier to drive?
1) Push/Pull Devices
This is a very popular adaptation that we fit for our customers, and it allows you to accelerate by pulling the handle towards you and to brake by pushing the handle away from yourself.
This is great alternative to pedal accelerators and brakes and is very easy and quick to install.
There is a great video that shows you how this works, how far the handle pulls backwards and forwards, and the ease of use.
2) Left Foot Accelerators
The universal layout of a car’s pedals, where the accelerator is positioned on the right hand side of the driver’s side is not suitable for everybody.
Left foot accelerators are the solution to being able to accelerate in your car with your left foot, when mobility in the right leg may be impaired.
If pedals are not an option to be able to accelerate and decelerate in your car, there are other alternatives, such as:
- An over-ring accelerator – a plastic ring fitted on top of your steering wheel that you can push to increase your speed
- An under-ring accelerator – the opposite of the above where the ring is behind the steering wheel and you pull it to increase the speed of your car
- Ghost-ring accelerator – similar to the above where a ring is placed behind the steering wheel, except you increase and decrease the speed by moving your fingers left and right
So, as you can see, your vehicle is more adaptable than you may think and offers some serious advantages after your car has been converted.
Another variation to improving the usability of your pedals may be Pedal Extensions.
3) Pedal Extensions
These are highly-useful plastic or metal extensions that are fitted on top of your car’s pedals, increasing the reach on the pedals and allowing individuals to control the car more comfortably.
4) Easy Release Handbrake
The manual handbrake that is standard on most cars over a few years old, i.e. not the electric and automatic handbrake that you see on more modern cars, can be quite difficult to use, thus an easy release handbrake adaptation, which decreases the amount of effort needed to activate or deactivate the handbrake to secure your car.
5) Indicator Switch
This is an adaptation that we think should be standard on all cars. It allows you to indicate to others drivers with the flick of a switch, as opposed to the traditional indication method that requires more effort.
Pretty great, right?!
6) Steering Ball
What if there was a way to make turning the steering wheel far more effortless – well, there is!
Adapting your car to have a steering ball on your steering wheel allows you to have full 360 degree steering with just one hand – a truly great adaptation that, again, we think should be standard on all cars, providing power steering is enabled in your car, otherwise steering balls may make an individual’s arms more tired than traditional steering.
There’s an absolutely fantastic range of steering balls available from our supplier, Jeff Gosling, and on their website, you’ll see the various types of steering balls that are available and you can see which suits you.
Okay, so at this point, you’ve seen the adaptations that allow you to drive with more ease.
But what about getting in to your car and storing your scooter?
7) Scooter hoists – 2 Way & 4 Way
What’s the difference between a 2 Way and a 4 Way hoist?
2 Way means that you can use it to hoist a light wheelchair into the boot of your vehicle, simply by attaching the wheelchair to the hoist and pushing it into the boot. This is a more manual way of getting your wheelchair into the rear of your vehicle.
The 4 Way hoist is an automated method of raising and placing a heavier scooter in to the rear of your vehicle. You attach the scooter to the hoist and press the accompanied button to activate the lifting and placing process. It’s as easy as pressing a button!
8) Rooftop Stowage
Perhaps there may be a time where a scooter is not suitable, or you’re out and about and may need a scooter and a lightweight wheelchair on the same day and on the same journey.
Rooftop stowage is a compartment that is fitted to the roof of your car that you can place a lightweight wheelchair into, assisted by an electric hoist that helps you to insert the wheelchair into the compartment.
A great adaption to your car.
9) Transfer Plates
These are incredible.
Car transfer plates are robust and fold away, helping you to easily manoeuvre into your vehicle.
Both manual and electric options are available.
Getting into your vehicle is the most important thing when it comes to adapting your vehicle and the transfer plate opens up the ability to get in to your vehicle and take advantage of your other adaptations.
The only disadvantage to transfer plates is that it requires some upper body strength to transfer yourself from your wheelchair to the transfer plate, to then manoeuvre into your vehicle.
This PDF has an amazing diagram on how a transfer plate works, where it is stored, how it folds out and more. It’s a great link to check out from our supplier that gives you a great idea of how transfer plates can help you.
10) Swivel Seats
This is a more permanent solution to manoeuvring into your vehicle and can be easier to get into your vehicle as the seat can be lowered or can tip forward, offering extra mobility.
Swivel seats cannot be fitted to all cars, so be sure to check with us to see if your car can cater for a swivel seat.
So now you know what type of adaptations are available for your car.
They’re all really useful, right?
But how do you start the ball rolling with getting your car adapted?
The Process of Adapting Your Car
The first step is to speak to an adaptation installer and discuss the various options and costings that you need to convert your car into a more user-friendly vehicle that will allow you to get on the road and experience total freedom.
Under the Motability scheme, you can lease a brand new car that comes with adaptations, however, this can be far more costly than upgrading your own car to suit your needs with no recurring payments, like leasing a new car has.
The second step is to decide on the adaptations that you would like to go ahead with and schedule the time out in your calendar and to book a date with the car adaptation installer to begin work on your car.
You may like to bring a friend along with you to accompany you and bring you back and forth, as opposed to having to wait for work to be carried out. Some adaptations may require your car to be held overnight, if not longer, but it does all depend on the adaptations that you need.
Financial Help via Motability
Not all adaptations may be affordable, as everybody’s circumstances are different.
The great news is that the Motability Charity can help provide the financial support to enable to you purchase the adaptations that you need for your car.
We’ve gone ahead and found the number you need to call to discuss financial aid from Motability and that number is 0300 456 4566.
Your car conversion is something that requires some discussion with an adaptations installer, but you can be on the road in no time once the adaptations have been fitted.
Start the process of getting your freedom back with improving your car to suit your needs.
Start by calling us today 01522 524444 to get the ball rolling with your car adaptations.November 22, 2019 10:18 pm