Why Disabled Parking Permits Are So Necessary In Extremely Cold Climates

Dr Handicap - cold climate

The Americans with Disabilities Act states that reserved spaces for disabled drivers are required by law. The rule stipulates that “accessible parking spaces should be at least 96 inches (2440 mm) wide and parking access aisles shall be part of an accessible route to the building or facility entrance.” According to a recent Disabilities Statistics annual report, just over one in ten of the United States population is classified as having a disability. There may be many more than this who are not reported or recorded for some reason. If you have a physical impairment but you’re able to drive – or even as a passenger in someone else’s car – you could benefit from having a disabled parking permit.

The qualifying medical conditions to obtain disabled parking permits do vary a little from state to state, but they’re usually restricted to specific types of infirmity or impairment. These conditions include: requiring assistance when walking – such as crutches, a walking stick or a wheelchair; having a prosthetic limb; requiring portable oxygen in order to walk; an inability to walk a set short distance without resting; or, if you’re registered blind, you can qualify as a passenger in someone else’s car. A disabled parking permit is generally available in two forms: either specially marked license plates or a placard that can hang from the rear-view mirror. The beauty of the latter is that it is portable, so you can use it in any car, either as the driver or a passenger, to allow you to park in dedicated handicap parking spots.

Dr Handicap - man driving

Having restricted mobility is difficult enough for anyone to have to deal with. Just getting from A to B can be a major challenge. Imagine though how much harder that challenge becomes when you’re living in one of our coldest climates. Disabled people living in Alaska and North Dakota, for example, face extreme conditions at certain times of the year. Not only are the sub-zero temperatures difficult to deal with, but there’s the added problem of the risk of slipping on frozen sidewalks. You would certainly want to limit the time you have to spend outside, keeping it to an absolute minimum. Disabled parking permits can be a real aid in these cold climates. They allow you to use the dedicated handicap parking spots in parking lots, which, as noted above, are required by the Disabilities Act to be a certain size and conveniently located. Your time getting from the car to the ticket machine, should this be necessary, will be minimal. Your time getting from your car to your destination will also be as short as possible. Lingering in extreme temperatures is not something anyone wants to do, particularly as you will get cold very quickly if you can’t move very fast. If you have any of the qualifying conditions, it’s easy enough to apply for and get a disabled parking permit in Alaska, or in North or South Dakota, to name but a few cold-weather states.

Dr Handicap - parking lot

Some people wonder how many handicap parking spots there are per parking lot, and whether this number is dictated by law. The availability of designated handicap parking spots is indeed regulated by laws – both federal and state. Generally, at least one space must be available in any parking location open to the public. There are also guidelines as to how many are required based on the overall size of the parking area. A general rule is that one disabled parking space must be provided per every 25 standard spaces. In some cases, too, the type of location also has a bearing on the number of handicap parking spots that must be available. A health care facility, for example, would require more designated spaces.

To see if you would qualify for a disabled parking permit, you can apply online for a simple and relaxed evaluation with one of our in-house doctors. This means that you can do it from the comfort of your own home (especially appealing in colder climes!), removing the added stress of having to travel to see a physician for your assessment. We hope by removing the need for a face-to-face consultation and all that this entails, people with a disability will be more inclined to take that first step to find out whether they qualify for a handicap parking permit. It’s not difficult and, if you’re approved, you will soon find that life is a little easier when you’re able to drive straight to a disabled parking spot – or use your badge as a passenger in a friend or relative’s car, making it easier for your companion to help you get in and out of the car, and then easier for you, as you will be within a more manageable distance from your destination. So, if you think this might be you, why not apply online and start the process today?