4 Driving Safety Tips For Those With Limited Mobility

Driving is a privilege, because operating heavy machinery like a car can be dangerous. This is especially true when other drivers fail to drive safely, follow traffic laws, or practice angry or aggressive driving. Those who drive on a routine basis know there are some drivers out there who seem to disregard the safety of others completely – but if everyone on the road is to stay safe, everyone needs to practice safe driving.

For people with limited mobility, driving isn’t always as easy as it is for those with full mobility. However, the main difference between driving with limited mobility and full mobility is the need to make a few changes to either the vehicle you drive or the way you drive. This can be done seamlessly if you know what tips to follow. So read on for our top driving safety tips for those with limited mobility.

What does limited mobility mean?

Limited mobility can be caused by a lot of different things, from diseases to accidents to congenital disorders. When a person is unable to use one or more of their extremities, such as the arms and legs, or does not have adequate strength to walk, lift, or hold onto certain objects, it is referred to as limited mobility.

Those who require the use of a wheelchair, a walker, or crutches are all examples of people with limited mobility. Limited mobility can be permanent, as is the case when someone suffers from conditions such as cerebral palsy, a spinal cord injury, or paralysis. It can also be considered temporary in the event that someone breaks a bone in the arm or leg. Limited mobility does count as a disability, but it doesn’t mean that a person has to give up the option to drive a vehicle.

woman in wheelchair in scenic location
Image by Zachary Kyra-Derksen on Unsplash: Driving in a wheelchair can be done easily with the right tools.

Can you drive if your legs are paralyzed?

Driving usually requires the use of one or both feet. For this reason, you may assume that if you don’t have mobility in your legs, you cannot drive. But people who are paralyzed in the legs can generally drive with no issue as long as certain modifications are made to their vehicle and they relearn how to drive using different tools.

A vehicle that is modified to allow a person with paralyzed legs to drive will include specific adaptations such as hand controls for braking and accelerating. Hand controls are extremely helpful and just as safe as foot controls. Other types of modifications may include power assist devices that can help with steering, touch ignition and gear shifts, adjustable driver’s seats, and automatic door openers.

Tips for driving with limited mobility

There are regular tips that all drivers should follow when it comes to driving safe and protecting yourself, passengers, and pedestrians while you’re out on the road. For example, observing the speed limit and practicing defensive driving techniques are great safety tips that everyone should be aware of and practicing diligently every time they get behind the wheel of their car.

Other general driving safety tips include:

  • Avoiding tailgating or riding too closely to the back of someone’s car
  • Always checking your blind spots
  • Never driving while angry and avoiding anger on the road
  • Always using your turn signals
  • Knowing the rules of a four-way stop
  • Avoiding the passing lane unless you are actually passing

These general rules are taught to every driver prior to getting their license, but can often be forgotten or unused as people build their own driving habits. Be sure to keep them all front of mind whenever you’re on the road.

When driving with limited mobility, there are some further specific driving tips that can help you stay safe while on the road.

1. Plan your route

Make sure you know not only where you’re going, but the route you need to take to get there. You won’t want to take your attention off the road to look at a map or directions, nor would it be ideal to have to stop or get out of your vehicle to get directions. If you’re prepared for your drive, you’ll have less distractions or detours when on the road.

2. Avoid unsafe driving conditions

This is a vital tip for driving safely with limited mobility. Unsafe driving conditions (such as severe weather) will complicate your experience behind the wheel, which could put your safety at risk.

person looking at map route in car
Image by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash: How do I travel with limited mobility? First, know your route.

3. Seek out additional driver training

For drivers with limited mobility, there’s also the option to receive additional training from an expert who is familiar with teaching people with the same mobility issue. This will help you understand the challenges you face on the road and prepare you to handle them better.

4. Minimize distractions

Finally, minimizing distractions will make your driving experience that much more seamless. Because driving relies heavily on visual and mental skills, you won’t want to be distracted, especially if you’re just getting used to driving with limited mobility.

Featured image by Orkun Azap on Unsplash

How Do I Renew My Handicap Placard In Texas Online?

Disabled drivers in Texas love the freedom and convenience that comes from having a handicap placard, making it easy to park safely. However, one thing you need to know is that your placard doesn’t last forever! It will need to be renewed, as you can’t legally park in handicap spots with an expired placard.

Don’t worry, though – the process for online handicap placard renewal in Texas is simple, as you simply need to download the appropriate forms. However, to submit the application itself, you’ll need to either mail it in or visit the local county tax assessor-collector’s office. You’ll then be issued with your renewed placard, giving you permission to park in designated spots for people with disabilities and some exemptions from local and state government parking meters.

Wondering “How do I renew my handicap placard in Texas online?” This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the process.

Can I renew my handicap placard online in Texas?

Unfortunately, you can only partially renew a handicap placard online in Texas. You can find the form you need and complete it digitally, but it will then need to be submitted via mail or in-person.

First, you need to know if your placard is temporary or permanent, as the process differs for each. If you have a red placard, it is temporary and usually expires in around six months. These are designed to be used by drivers with temporary disabilities. If your placard is blue, it’s permanent and will need renewal every four years.

How much does it cost to renew a handicap placard in Texas? Luckily, the process is very affordable. For temporary placards, there’s a $5.00 fee, but there’s no charge for permanent placards.

person filling out paperwork
Image by Scott Graham on Unsplash: It’s easy to renew your handicap placard in Texas.

Temporary placards

If you have a red temporary placard for your Texas vehicle, know that temporary placards can’t actually be renewed – they’ll need to be replaced. Because they’re only valid for a set period of time, they’re designed for short-term disability use, such as by someone recovering from surgery.

However, you might still need a placard after your first one expires. In that case, you’ll want to download and complete the Application for Persons with Disabilities Parking Placard and/or License Plate (Form VTR-214).

The form includes a section that needs to be completed by a medical professional, certifying that you have a disability and require a placard. You’ll want to also be familiar with the list of disabilities that qualify for the placard.

You’ll then need to submit the form, along with your vehicle identification details, plus the $5.00 administrative fee. This can be paid via personal check, money order, or cashier’s check. Once approved, you’ll be issued your placard. As with the permanent placard, it will need to be clearly displayed on your vehicle when parked.

Permanent placards

Your blue placard is permanent, which means it’s good for a lifetime of driving. That doesn’t mean you can get it and forget about it, though, as the state of Texas requires these permits to be renewed.

To do this, you’ll need to download the same form mentioned above, Form VTR-214. You only need to complete page one, as a doctor isn’t required to complete the medical section. You’ll then submit the form to the county tax office, along with a copy of your original application form. No longer have the original? That’s okay, as you can also submit your current permanent placard as proof.

Veteran placards

Often, veterans are also in need of permanent placards, due to injury or disability experienced while in service to the country. To apply or renew your veteran placard, you’ll instead want to complete the Application for Disabled Veteran License Plates and/or Parking Placards, which can be downloaded online.

To qualify as a veteran, you’ll need to be receiving compensation from the government as a result of your disability, and you’ll also need to have been honorably discharged from the service.

street corner in texas town
Image by Monica Bourgeau on Unsplash: Once you renew your handicap placard, it’ll be much easier to explore the roads and towns throughout Texas.

What if my Texas handicap placard is lost?

If your permit is lost or stolen, this is sure to be a stressful situation, but not to worry – it can be replaced. To replace it, you’ll need to take your completed form VTR-214 to the county office. For this reason, we recommend always keeping your placard paperwork in a safe place, in case it’s needed. Without the completed paperwork, the state might not be able to replace your placard and you might need to go through the application process all over again.

With the above information, it should be easy to complete the required paperwork and renew your placard. If you’re not sure if you’re still eligible for a placard, or if you’ve just moved to Texas, Dr. Handicap can help with HIPAA-compliant telehealth consultations, making it much simpler to apply or renew your Texas placard online.

The great state of Texas has so much to offer, so don’t let a disability slow you down when it comes to traveling and seeing your state. Once your placard is renewed, you’ll be ready to travel, drive, and explore.

Featured image by Carlos Alfonso on Unsplash

Is Handicap Parking A Federal Law?

Handicap parking laws exist to make life easier for people with a wide range of disabilities and mobility issues. Without a strictly implemented set of rules, the disabled parking program couldn’t be of optimal service to its users.

The handicap parking program contains lots of legally binding rules and regulations. These important directives deal with parking space dimensions and locations, signage, numbers, qualifying conditions, how to apply for a disabled parking permit, and what types of disabled permits are available.

Is Handicap Parking A Federal Law?

A federal law is a law put in place by the federal government and enforced by federal and state authorities. Federal laws apply in all 50 states.

The handicap parking program includes several legally binding rules and regulations. Many of the most important details of the handicap parking program are federal laws; however, some details of each state’s specific handicap parking program are state laws that apply locally but not across all states.

washington capitol building
Image by pierre9x6 on Pixabay: Is handicap parking a federal law?

What Federal Law Deals With Handicap Parking?

The federal law that deals with the handicap parking program is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

What Is ADA Parking?

ADA parking refers to disabled parking that adheres to Americans with Disabilities Act rules and regulations.

What Makes A Legal Handicap Spot?

A legal handicap spot needs to be properly signposted with a sign that is mounted at least five feet above the ground. A legal handicap parking spot also needs to be a minimum of eight feet wide, with an aisle space adjacent that is also a minimum of five feet wide. A legal handicap parking spot for a van must be at least 11 feet wide, and there must be an accessible path from the aisle to an accessible entrance of the building it serves.

ADA Parking Space Requirements 2021

The ADA parking space requirements in 2021 are:

  • Handicap spaces can only be used by handicap parking permit holders
  • Handicap spaces must be properly signposted
  • Handicap spaces must be appropriately sized
  • Handicap spaces must exist in legally dictated numbers in parking lots and on streets
  • Handicap spaces must be located on the most accessible routes to the buildings and amenities they serve

Who Enforces Handicap Spots?

Handicap spots are enforced by local authorities, usually police forces, parking authorities, and disabled parking authorities.

What Handicap Parking Laws Are Decided By Individual States?

Several handicap parking laws are decided and implemented by individual states and only apply in certain states.

States Decide Specific Handicap Parking Qualifying Conditions

Each state decides what the legal qualifying conditions for handicap parking will be in that state. The following list of qualifying conditions applies in a large majority of states; however, some states have other qualifying conditions as well as these:

  • An inability to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest
  • An inability to walk without an assistive device
  • Legal blindness
  • Lung disease
  • Portable oxygen tank usage
  • A heart condition classified Class III or IV by the American Heart Association
  • A neurological, arthritic, or orthopedic condition that curtails mobility

States Have Different Types Of Handicap Parking Permits Available

Each state decides what types of disabled parking permits to offer. The following are the most commonly offered types of disabled permit:

Each state has its own laws regarding when disabled parking permits expire and how to renew them.

disabled parking sign
Image by charfilmax on Pixabay: What are ADA parking space requirements in 2021?

States Allow Different Medical Professionals To Verify Handicap Parking Applications

Each state decides which types of medical professionals can verify a person’s eligibility for disabled parking and sign a disabled parking permit application form.

All States Allow Handicap Parking Permit Reciprocity

Every American state recognizes disabled parking permits issued by all other states. Due to the fact that each state follows federal handicap parking laws but also has its own unique state laws, it is important to research the handicap parking laws in any state you are intending to visit.

How Do You Get A Handicap Parking Permit In 2021?

The best way to get a handicap parking permit in 2021 is to visit the Dr. Handicap online clinic and set up a telemedicine consultation with a licensed medical professional. Once your disability has been verified, the medical professional will complete, sign, and email you a disabled parking application form for you to finish and submit to your local DMV.

Featured image by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

How Do You Get A Handicap Parking Permit In Oklahoma?

When you live with a disability that restricts your mobility, it can be difficult to do daily tasks such as running errands or going to the store for an essential item. For those with a qualifying disability, there are efforts made in the state of Oklahoma to help people with mobility issues get around easier.

These specialized facilities are offered to ensure that all residents of the state have equal opportunity to use the various public and private facilities available to them. One such service offered is handicap parking spaces. In order for you to use a handicap parking space, you will first have to get a placard. But how do you get a handicap parking permit in Oklahoma, and does it take long?

Read on to find out all you need to know.

Disabled parking in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, there are certain laws in place to ensure that there are enough disabled parking spots and that citizens are using them appropriately. Those using the spots should have approved placards and everyone else should leave them open for people with mobility issues. If you have a disabled parking placard or plates in Oklahoma, you can park in any parking spot that is designated for use by disabled drivers. The spaces are all marked with the symbol of accessibility.

aerial view of parking lot
Image by Lucas Hobbs on Unsplash: Public and private parking areas have to have designated spots for disabled drivers. 

People with disabled badges can also use metered on-street parking where available without having to pay the meter fee. The amount of time that metered spots can be used as disabled spots vary throughout the jurisdictions of Oklahoma. Private parking areas can be a little trickier; however, many also have specialized parking areas for those with mobility issues to make the establishment more accessible.

Oklahoma handicap parking laws

There are certain laws surrounding disabled parking in Oklahoma that all residents must adhere to. Residents must have a qualifying condition to be able to apply for a parking placard.

Some requirements of qualifying conditions include:

  • Having a condition that makes it impossible to walk 200 feet without needing to stop and rest
  • Having a condition that requires the use of walking aids such as crutches, braces, canes, wheelchairs, or prosthetic devices
  • Heart disease that is classified as either Class III or Class IV that restricts a person’s mobility
  • Lung diseases that are severe in nature. Specific lung diseases include asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, and chronic bronchitis.
  • Having a condition that is accompanied by the use of a portable oxygen tank
  • Being legally blind
  • Having neurological diseases or chronic inflammatory diseases that hinder a person’s ability to walk
  • Having chronic pain conditions
  • Missing one or more limbs that make mobility impaired

The handicap placard that is issued to you can also be used in another person’s vehicle if they are driving you around.

In the event that your placard expires, you may be issued a citation if you still use it, so it’s important to remember to have your placard renewed before the expiry date. Each placard has a life of five years, as there is no longer a lifetime permanent disability placard.

How long does it take to get a handicap placard in Oklahoma?

If you qualify under one of the above requirements, you can apply for a placard by filling out the Oklahoma handicap placard application form. The form must be filled out by you and signed by your doctor. You can then mail it to the address on the form with a check for one dollar.

oklahoma city highway
Image by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash: Disabled drivers in Oklahoma City can have peace of mind with a parking placard.

Processing your form will take roughly 10 business days. In this time, you will have to wait for approval and cannot use handicap designated parking spots. If the application is approved, you’ll be mailed a permit that grants you access to disabled parking. It can take approximately 10 or more business days for you to receive your placard in the mail. If you have not received your placard within 20 business days of filling out the application, you should call the Disability Parking Permit desk for a status update.

There is one way that the process can be sped up, and that’s if you present it to the Disability Parking Permit desk of the Department of Public Safety in Oklahoma City. If done this way, the application will be processed immediately, which will speed up the time it takes for you to receive your permit and begin using disabled parking.

Featured image by Justin Prine on Unsplash

Is A Handicap Spot Legal Without A Sign?

Handicap parking infrastructure across America helps millions of disabled people and makes their lives easier. Handicap parking spaces are located in every jurisdiction in the US. Their purpose is to make amenities, buildings, residences, and public areas accessible to disabled people.

In order to use handicap parking infrastructure, you need to be a disabled parking permit holder. For handicap parking programs to work well, it is crucial that everybody understands the rules and knows how to avail of the program effectively.

Handicap parking space signage is a crucial part of handicap parking infrastructure. Signage makes it clear to handicap permit holders and non–permit holders exactly which spaces and areas are reserved for disabled people.

The rules around handicap parking space signs are enshrined in federal law, and it is important that all road users are aware of them. People tend to have several questions about handicap parking signs, such as… Is a handicap spot legal without a sign? What happens if a handicap spot doesn’t have a sign? What makes a handicap sign legal? How tall does a handicap sign need to be? Do handicap signs have to be blue?

Let’s answer these important questions today.

What Law Deals With Handicap Parking Signs?

The federal law that deals with handicap parking space sign requirements, rules, and regulations is the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

legal handicap parking sign
Image by JoeBreuer on Pixabay: Is a handicap spot legal without a sign?

Are Handicap Parking Laws The Same In Every State?

Certain handicap parking rules, such as handicap space sign requirements and how many disabled spaces should be in a parking lot, are federal laws. Federal laws apply nationwide. Other aspects of handicap parking laws, such as exact qualifying conditions and the types of permits that are available, vary slightly state by state.

Is A Handicap Spot Legal Without A Sign?

No, a handicap parking space is not legal without a sign. The ADA states that all handicap spaces must be denoted by a handicap parking sign.

What Happens If A Handicap Spot Doesn’t Have A Sign?

Some handicap spots will only have the wheelchair symbol painted on the ground. These spaces, while quite clearly marked as disabled spaces, should still have a sign according to the ADA. If you see a spot without a sign, you should contact your local disabled parking authorities and ask them to install a sign.

What Makes A Handicap Sign Legal?

What are the legal handicap parking signage requirements? The requirements for handicap parking signs are that they must be the correct design and they must be positioned correctly in relation to the space they are denoting.

How Tall Does A Handicap Sign Need To Be?

A handicap parking space sign must be mounted at least five feet above the ground.

Do Handicap Signs Have To Be Blue?

No, handicap parking signs do not need to be blue. However, a blue sign with the International Symbol of Accessibility in white is the most common sign design.

Where Are Handicap Parking Spaces Located?

Handicap parking spaces are located in all public places. They are located on-street and in parking lots in numbers dictated by federal law in accordance with the ADA.

How Do You Get A Handicap Parking Permit?

The easiest way to get a handicap parking permit is to have a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional at the Dr. Handicap online clinic. Once the medical professional has verified your disability, they will sign a handicap parking application form that you can submit to your local handicap parking authorities, which, in most states, is the local Department of Motor Vehicles.

parking spaces with no signage
Image by Pexels on Pixabay: What happens if a handicap spot doesn’t have a sign? In that case, it isn’t up to ADA standard.

What Medical Professionals Can Sign A Handicap Parking Application?

The specific medical professionals that can sign a handicap parking application vary state by state. In most states, any one of the following can sign your application:

  • Licensed physician
  • Physician’s assistant
  • Advanced nurse practitioner
  • Chiropractor

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Handicap Parking Permit?

The following medical conditions will qualify you for a disabled parking permit in all states:

  • An inability to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • An inability to walk without the aid of an assistive device such as a cane, crutch, wheelchair, Zimmer frame, or another person.
  • A heart condition classified as Class III or IV by the American Heart Association
  • Lung disease
  • A condition that necessitates the use of portable oxygen
  • Lung disease
  • Legal blindness
  • Any arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition that seriously curtails mobility

Featured image by MichaelGaida on Pixabay