If you live with physical disabilities or limitations, driving may be impeded. There are mobility aids and devices that can enhance accessibility, helping to keep you safer on the road. From assistance with seat belts to a convenient way to stow scooters and chairs when driving, there are mobility solutions for the situations you could encounter behind the wheel.
Leaving home with physical disabilities or mobility issues presents certain challenges. It could serve to increase anxiety surrounding driving and getting out which could jeopardize independence and confidence behind the wheel. Maintain your autonomy, or the autonomy of someone you love, with simple accessibility options that help keep drivers safe.
Also, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April offers the perfect platform to learn more and ask questions regarding safety related to driving. When accessibility is compromised due to physical challenges, health issues, or aging, mobility aids could offer a solution.
Consider these accessibility options that help to keep you safe on the road:
As we age, we shrink! It is a lot easier for seniors to drive when they have good reach and control behind the wheel. Check out wedge seat cushions available widely at most medical supply or mobility equipment venues or foot pedal extensions, that can give shorter drivers better control and reach of the pedals, while also keeping them close to the wheel.
To ensure that everyone wears their seatbelt, make sure that it is within reach and easy to buckle. There are reaching tools specially designed for seatbelts, consisting of a strap with a rubber handle that helps the user reach and fit the belt around them. This also comes with added padding around the neck that helps protect the wearer from uncomfortable chafing. When the belt is easy to secure, you are more inclined to wear it which is the safest thing to do.
Driving is difficult, possibly dangerous if you can’t see well. First, always wear corrective lenses if you have been prescribed them and visit your eye care provider at least every year. Health conditions and even things like diet can impact how well you can see. Protect your sight with preventative care.
Consider these driving tips when vision is an issue:
- Augment the auto with another mirror or two-why not? Make sure that you don’t have a blind spot that could cause issues. There are oversized mirrors that affix to the rearview but that provide a much wider view of the back and sides of the vehicle. These are a big help when parallel parking especially for those that have limited flexibility and range of motion in their neck or back.
- Make the leap and invest in a backup camera for your main vehicle. This can prevent blind spots and help those that may struggle to flex, move, and look around. These often come with night vision cameras which may be helpful to anyone with night blindness or that has had eye surgery for cataracts, which can cause difficulty driving after dark.
- The sun can be blinding and cause a nasty accident in the blink of an eye. Invest in a glare shield that is customized to fit perfectly over your existing sun visor. This will provide better glare protection, without any obstacles in your view. These are great for any driver but those with vision issues or impairment will benefit greatly.
For vision issues, make sure to discuss your options with your eye care professional. Wear polarized sunglasses or prescription glasses to further reduce glare and the damage that UV rays can do to your eyes.
If you use a wheelchair or scooter, the problem may not pertain to driving as much as what to do with your mobility device when you get behind the wheel? Also, how will you store the equipment until your next stop? This is where vehicle lifts come in and they enable many with physical disabilities and challenges to resume driving, while maintaining their freedom, too. If you feel that a vehicle lift is right for you, speak with a mobility professional to learn more about this solution.
A key to accessibility is entry and egress. Have you ever struggled to get in or out of a building or door? Portable ramps make any step, stoop, or stair accessible. These are easy to fold and stash in the trunk, for when they are needed. They are easy to pull out and implement when you get where you are going and need to navigate some tricky entry or exit. Another perk of temporary, portable ramps is the price; these are very affordable mobility solutions.
Keep loved ones, or yourself, behind the wheel longer with accessibility and mobility aids that make driving easier and safer. Talk to the team at Pacific Mobility to find out more about adaptive aids and equipment for your vehicle, too.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)