by Maggie Hammond
The thought of driving with a disability can be daunting, but with support and technological advancements, driving can be worthwhile and attainable for everyone. You could find a new lease of independence, as you no longer have to rely on other people to take you to the places that you need to go to.
How the process works can vary depending on your personal circumstances. If you are returning to driving after a disability or illness then you must notify the driving agency, so they can assess whether your current licence can be continued. They may require you to attend an assessment. If you are not sure whether you need to notify the driving agency, you can check on their website for a list of medical conditions that you must inform them of. Failure to do so can result in a fine, so make sure you don’t neglect to inform the authorities.
If you are learning to drive with a disability, you can get lots of useful information from the government website. The starting point is to apply for a provisional driving licence, and disclosing details of your disability or medical condition. You will then get asked to complete a ‘medical-in-confidence’ form in order to get a report from your doctor. One of the medical advisors working at the driving agency will assess your driving licence application and inform you if you need to do anything further to obtain a licence.
If you have a physical disability and are worried about driving instructors not having the right equipment or experience of teaching students with disabilities, you can contact an instructor that specialises in this. The Association of Disability Driving Instructors provides help for people with physical disabilities, special educational needs and people with hearing difficulties. If you require adaptations to enable you to drive, they will be able to advise you on this and can provide adapted tuition cars. Alternatively, some people have the adaptations done to their own car and the instructor can teach them in their own vehicle.
Once you have your provisional licence approved, you can get started with your instructor and book in for your theory test. A great way of preparing for your theory tests is by completing online mock tests through sites like Toptests. Using these online tests will help you to quickly prepare for your theory test and are a lot more fun than reading the Highway Code. Your instructor should be able to help prepare you by recommending the best resources to help you to revise for your theory test.
You might be entitled to support from the government in terms of a Blue Badge for parking, getting a disabled parking space outside your house or a vehicle tax reduction.
Being able to drive is extremely beneficial, so start the ball rolling by applying for your provisional driving licence today. You could be making a huge change to your life and level of independence, creating a happier lifestyle for your future.
About the Author
Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.