Vehicle Adaptations – Regaining Your Independence

Vehicle adaptations have made a world of difference for millions of drivers with disabilities across the UK, giving them precious independence.

When the car was introduced in the early days of the 20th century, after being invented by Karl Benz in 1886, the horse and cart was still the most common form of transport. At the time very few people realised quite how popular the new ‘horseless carriage’ was going to be, but gradually the car went from being a luxury that only the wealthiest could afford to something available to the masses.

The first disability vehicles were invalid tricycles, which were built after the Second World War, for wounded soldiers and other disabled people. By the 1960s, all the trikes came in the same regulation shade of blue, looking identical. It was realised that disabled drivers were being left behind other motorists because they did not have a choice of vehicles and also couldn’t take passengers.

Fortunately, all this changed with the introduction of Mobility Allowance in 1976, followed two years later by the launch of Motability, a scheme designed to give disabled drivers and passengers access to vehicles adapted for their needs.

Car Adaptations – click here to find out more about what we can do for you.

Types of Vehicle Adaptation

Whether you need vehicle adaptations to help get you in and out of the car, hoists for wheelchairs and scooters, hand controls instead of foot pedals, left foot accelerators, or other items geared to your particular disability, there are products available to suit your requirements.

These adaptations have made a great difference to many people, enabling them to work and socialise. Driving gives you the freedom to get out and about any time you need, without having to rely on others to give you a lift at a time of their convenience. It also opens up more opportunities for work, as you can travel more easily to and from your workplace and don’t have to rely on the public transport system such as buses, which may not run at the right times and are not always accessible to disabled people. It’s also no fun waiting for a bus in the pouring rain, especially if your wheelchair won’t fit in the bus shelter!

Fortunately, car adaptations have come a long way since the early days and many of these are easy to dismantle so that a friend or able-bodied partner can also drive the same vehicle. For example, steering wheel balls – devices which clamp on to the driving wheel so that someone with limited movement in their hands or upper body can steer – can be supplied with a quick-release option.

Ransome Mobility can also install a twin flip foot accelerator, for anyone who has difficulty in using a right-foot pedal, which flips the accelerator pedal to the left of the brake pedal – but can easily be moved back for any other motorist. Also, if a driver cannot use foot pedals and needs push-pull hand controls, these can be installed inside the steering column which makes it easier for another driver to use the car.

Having use of a car makes shopping trips much easier – and if you are reliant on a scooter or wheelchair, you can even get hoists to help you with lifting these heavy items of equipment in and out of your car or people carrier. You can also go out to visit friends or relatives any time you want to, which gives you a much better social life.

Learning to Drive in an Adapted Vehicle

Whether you are learning to drive for the first time, or recovering from an accident or illness, there are driving schools available which are specially geared to people with disabilities, where the equipment that you need is provided. Lessons can also help with learning how to adapt to using new equipment for the first time. If you search on the internet, you can find details of specialist driving schools in your area.

Lessons in an adapted car will give you some idea on the adaptations that you might need when you buy a vehicle. Ransome Mobility are the experts and fully accredited under the Motability scheme, we offer a range of vehicle aids for drivers with disabilities. We will both supply and fit the adaptations for your convenience, and suit them to your individual driving position.

The adaptations available from Ransome Mobility include wireless keypad controls, allowing you to press a button to operate a range of secondary functions in your car, as well as easy-release handbrakes, left-foot accelerators and push-pull hand controls. We supply both light and heavy-duty hoists to load and unload scooters and wheelchairs, and swivel seats to make getting into the car an easier process. Also available is the Carony Turnout system, a unique transport wheelchair which enables a passenger to be moved into a vehicle in their chair, and the Carony Drive system, which means you can drive your vehicle from your wheelchair, again eliminating the need to get in and out of your seat.

About Ransome Mobility
Based in Suffolk and serving a wide area, we specialise in mobility solutions and have expert staff who will arrange for you to view our Motability demonstration vehicle, either at our workshop or at another location if this is better for you. We have a dedicated team of engineers who are available 24 hours a day for queries relating to mobility products.

Ransome Mobility  –  get in touch for information on our services