To start with one issue is with simply entering the vehicle to begin with. Getting from the wheelchair into the driver’s seat generally will take assistance, however there are some wheelchair lifts or transfer seats which make the process easier and even independent – although for safety reasons there should always be someone watching out for them.
Then of course there’s driving the vehicle, generally with the help of hand controls which are used in conjunction with other types of driving equipment.
These aid driving but are certainly not the easiest thing to master, and if you can imagine that you have one hand on the handle of your hand control with other on the steering wheel, then which hand do you use to activate the turn signals?
Inevitably it takes speed and skill – or additional equipment – in order to simply drive the vehicle, and rapidly switching between different action points can be unnerving for those who are starting to drive.
Many disabled people have low energy levels which makes long distance journeys difficult and a real physical burden. For those with extreme issues you’ll find that there are even electronic driving controls which reduce the effort taken to accelerate and brake to merely pressing a button. Of course this has its downsides too with a reduced amount of precision and control which slowly and manually accelerating/braking brings.
Ultimately there are a number of different issues which disabled people face in driving, these can range from physical such as I’ve mentioned above, but span in the mental and financial problems too – and that’s not including how the Americans with disabilities act affects driving.
The cost of this assistive driving equipment is expensive, and there are costs for the secondary and peripheral gear as well as the installation costs which are not taken into account.
Then there’s the potential cost of an additional vehicle as well as taxes which need paying too.
Finally the psychological barriers are nonexistent for many but a real issue for others, especially if it was a car accident which caused the injury in the first place.
Generally these barriers can be overcome, and they vary from slight nervousness to absolute panic attacks which can occur under the wrong circumstances.
But I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to worry you that everything’s going to go wrong because the chances are very much the opposite.
Plenty of drivers start driving right away upon installation of their hand controls with little or even no experience in some cases.
Ultimately each case is judged differently, but one thing is for sure, whether large or small there will be difficulties you encounter and which you must be prepared to overcome if driving confidently, comfortably and safely is your ultimate goal.