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  • #73898
    Learning to drive/buying a car?

    Hello, I hope this is the right place to post this.

    I am hoping to learn to drive and eventually get a car and would love some advice. I’m really worried about driving a ‘normal’ car as my lower legs are very weak. I was wondering can I learn to drive in a hand controlled car? Does anyone know/have advice about this? Also when I have learnt to drive do i buy a car already adapted or get a ‘normal’ car and adapt it myself?

    Apreciate any help with this. Thanks.

    LoneWanderer
    Participant
    Posts: 25
    Joined: 14/06/2011
    #81860
    Re: Learning to drive/buying a car?

    There are some schools out there who do offer driving lessons in hand controlled cars, or there used to be. Try phoning a couple of the big names in your area, if they do not have such a car, they might well know who does. Try a google search, you might get a hit.

    I bought my cars myself and had power assisted steering put on my first one. My mechanics tweaked my second car, so I never really needed significant adaptions.

    I'm always the animal, my body's the cage

    I blog about nothingness www.amgroves.com

    AM
    Participant
    Posts: 4,751
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    #81861
    Re: Learning to drive/buying a car?

    Im getting hand controls for the first time in my car on order. As its a motability car they have insisted I take 3 hours of lessons in an adapted car with British School of Motoring (BSM).

    The car I originally learned to drive in had hand controls(although I never used any of his kit) and was a small independant driving school so its just a case of getting the yellow pages out to see whos doing the best deal in your area but BSM is about the largest driving school in the country and are everywhere.

    Its also worth note that most adapted cars are automatics so you should consider this when booking lessons. auto lessons cost a few quid more than manual ones.

    Another place to look into is the driving assesment centres and also the naidex and independant living shows that normally have adapted test cars.

    If you are able to get yourself into the car yourself without help, it is probably cheaper to buy or motability hire a off the shelf car and add the hand controls yourself as a basic setup is not that expensive. handcontrols can be added to pretty much any car new or old they can also adjust steering weights to make it even lighter.

    if you have big issues getting in/out or need to drive from your wheelchair it would be good to look pre adapted WAVs (wheelchair access vehicles) Even if you dont want to hire via motability, they have a good list of adapatation companies on their webpages.

    cat

    """""""What doesn't kill you makes you stronger""""""

    Cat Cat
    Moderator
    Posts: 1,002
    Joined: 20/09/2010
    #81862
    Re: Learning to drive/buying a car?

    Hi just to let you know I learned to drive trying a normal manual car. I took a few lessons and realised that my right leg would start to hurt and would strain it and hence become stiff. So I stopped and started to look into options, i found an instructor that tought disabled people to drive, he came around and sat me in the driver side of the car. He advised me that i could try using an automatic car with a left foot accelator and the rest they say is history. As my left leg was stronger i was able to drive. Try it out you may find it possible if not try hand controls. Go for it!!!!

    shazadh shazadh
    Participant
    Posts: 60
    Joined: 04/05/2011
    #81863
    Re: Learning to drive/buying a car?

    Hi, if you’ve not already done so I may be able to help with a little advice with your quest to learn to drive, I am a driving instructor in the south of the uk, I’m not touting for business as we don’t currently have hand control vehicles and odd’s are your not from our Dorset, however I have a little experience in disability training and could advise you of some of the best people to talk to, firstly motability could give you alot of advice and depending on your financial circumstances and age they may also give you some government funded financial assistance, they will advise you to use a BSM instructor this may or may not be a good idea, they are a little more expensive than than independent instructors but if you are having your lessons paid by motability this won’t matter. Just make sure you like your instructor and feel you are constantly learning and improving your ability. Another company I know of that can give very helpful independent advice is wessex drivability, this is a company based in the south of the UK but they have connections with similar companies around the UK and would be able to pass you the number of the most local company to you. I hope this advice is helpful and wish you the best of luck.

    andypd
    Participant
    Posts: 1
    Joined: 14/01/2012
    #81864
    Re: Learning to drive/buying a car?

    i learnt to drive with hand controls and steering ball . I went with BSM . My instructor was disabled too :D

    rachelmurphy
    Participant
    Posts: 65
    Joined: 02/02/2011
    #81865
    Re: Learning to drive/buying a car?

    I drive a standard automatic with lightened brakes and super light power steering. I use my right foot for accelerator and left for brake. I’ve tried hand controls but I didn’t get on with them, and to be honest, my shoulders are probably too weak to use them, and to use the steering wheel one-handed.

    Go to a mobility centre and have a driving assessment. They will test your reaction times and limb strength and advise you on the best kind of adaptations. Don’t automatically think that hand controls are the answer, just because your legs are weak.

    Ameena

    Ameena
    Participant
    Posts: 33
    Joined: 29/01/2011
    #81867
    Re: Learning to drive/buying a car?

    Hi LoneWanderer.

    Please please please have an assessment or learn in an adapted vehicle!
    I learnt to drive in a manual many years ago when my legs were strong enough but had never reported my MD to the DVLA.

    I was involved in a very large accident last Friday and my insurance company are playing hell with me at the minute.
    I remembered this thread and didn’t want anyone to go through the same!

    Best of luck :)

    Sag

    Sagar
    Participant
    Posts: 82
    Joined: 20/12/2010
    #81866
    Re: Learning to drive/buying a car?

    @sagar wrote:

    Hi LoneWanderer.

    Please please please have an assessment or learn in an adapted vehicle!
    I learnt to drive in a manual many years ago when my legs were strong enough but had never reported my MD to the DVLA.

    I was involved in a very large accident last Friday and my insurance company are playing hell with me at the minute.
    I remembered this thread and didn’t want anyone to go through the same!

    Best of luck :)

    Sag

    OMG Sagar, I hope no one was badly injured.

    It is adviseable to inform DVLA, I realise many may feel that doing so puts their licence in jeopardy but really it does not. I just had to see my Doc, we chatted and he signed the form, three years later he did the same and DVLA sent me a full valid til 70 [?] licence, it is the holders responsibility to keep DVLA informed. Even with Insurance Companies, I told them DVLA are aware, I have a full licence, and they were happy with that.

    Yes it is another area of bureaucract, but it is not so bad [there are worse as we well know]

    I'm always the animal, my body's the cage

    I blog about nothingness www.amgroves.com

    AM
    Participant
    Posts: 4,751
    Joined: 05/03/2015
    #81868
    Re: Learning to drive/buying a car?

    I’m ok thanks. Just a few more aches & pains to add to those I already have.
    My car was written off and it took a transit van with it too. There was also damage to another 4 cars :(

    Today I got in touch with Derby Driveability who offer assessments for elderly/disabled drivers. The assessment is £95 and I am booking it as soon as I get the paperwork.
    The lady who I spoke to on the phone for a few minutes seemed very knowledgeable and understanding of the issues facing disabled drivers.
    As I said, I’m hoping to see them soon and hope it will help in my quest for a new, more convenient car…will keep everyone updated :)

    Sagar
    Participant
    Posts: 82
    Joined: 20/12/2010
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