According to data released by the Family Resources Survey, 21% of people in the UK reported a disability in 2018-19 – a figure that equates to 14.1 million – while the NHS reports that there are 1.2 million wheelchair users in the country, with two-thirds of those classed as regular users.
But having a disability doesn’t mean you are confined to your home, or that your quality of life should be restricted. Companies like Allied Mobility offer plenty of vehicles that are specially adapted to allow those with a disability to retain a sense of freedom and independence, and here are just some of the modifications that can be made to your car.
Adaptations for upper-body disabilities
These are vast and varied, and there have been a wide range of developments designed to ensure those with upper-body disabilities can still get behind the wheel and go about their daily business. For example, an automatic rather than a manual transmission can be installed so that you don’t have to worry about gear changes, while the handbrake can also be moved to the right of the driver’s seat if your disability affects the left-hand side of your body.
A knob can be fitted to the wheel in order to assist steering, or a joystick can be put in place to allow you to navigate safely around the streets. Additionally, your indicators and horn can be altered so that they are operated via foot controls, making the roads a safer place both for you and other drivers.
Adaptations for lower-body disabilities
Automatic cars can also be hugely beneficial for those with lower-body disabilities as they do not require the use of a clutch. There is also the option to install a semi-automatic clutch, which allows you to operate a manual gearbox without the need for using any pedals. And, if your disability affects the right-hand side of your body, the accelerator can be moved to the left of the brake.
If you have lost the use of both of your legs, there are various hand controls that can be installed to enable you to operate the likes of the accelerator and the brake, while there are plenty of modifications to assist wheelchair users. These include swivel seats to transfer you from your wheelchair to the driving position, as well as ramps and hoists to help with access to the vehicle.
Making some of these modifications to your car may mean you are less reliant on others when you go about your everyday business, and that sense of independence is invaluable.