Learning to Drive with a Spine Injury

If you’re learning to drive with a spinal injury there are a few important things which you must have before you start learning.

In this page I’ll briefly go over what you need before hand before going into what you’ll need to learn how to drive with your disability.

In terms of assistive driving equipment the first thing you’ll need to look into is having disabled driving controls installed for your vehicle.

Whether this is a permanent or temporary (portable) set is irrelevant, but assuming you can’t use one or both of your legs they’re a necessity.

  • If you can’t use your arms then unfortunately you won’t be able to drive, even with the most advanced equipment available.

Driving with a Spinal Injury

However, once you have the appropriate gear which matches up to your condition’s requirements then you’ll need to get started learning to drive.

The first thing you need to remember is that you’ll need a new driver’s license, which means in the US/UK passing a driving test the same as everyone else.

Just remember the equality laws for driving allow you the same rights as everyone else when driving, as long as you can pass your test just like everyone else.

There’s no reason for you to be disbarred from driving as long as you can prove (while using your equipment of course) that you’re as competent as an able bodied person.

But getting to the stage where you’re confident enough to take and pass your test can be a long road for some – but a relatively short one for others

If you’re new to the whole concept of driving with a disability you need to find out more about driving with a spinal cord injury to learn about what it is you need to be doing.

Learning to Drive with a Disability

For those of you who understand both the law and the equipment you need it’s simply a case of practicing at driving until you can pass your test.

There’s really two different ways to gain experience at driving.

  • Firstly there’s going through the hassle and cost of getting a disabled driving instructor.  They can be few and far between (especially in the US where infrastructure is more spread out) and are significantly more expensive than regular driving instructors.
  • Secondly there’s simply teaching yourself with a friend/relative to keep watch over you.  I’ll talk more about this below because it’s the option which most people are going to go for.

Starting to teach yourself to get back into driving is a surprisingly fast process, even if you’ve not driven in a long time you can pick it up again relatively quickly.

The best method to take is to practice very early in the morning when it’s just light but when there’ll be no traffic about.

  • It’s also important to pick a route which you’re familiar with and which is also not a particularly busy road.

After you get the initial confidence it’s simply about getting more confident and challenging yourself to more busy and unknown roads.

For casual drivers I think using a set of mobile driving controls is a good option due to their portability and cheapness.

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