Finding a good disability driving school near you is important when you need to learn to drive. Having a vehicle and a full driving license is a crucial lifeline for millions of disabled people. It provides freedom and independence and opens up the world, preventing isolation and loneliness by making it easier to get out and about.
Most disabled people need to learn to drive with a specialist driving instructor. Every year, lots of disabled people are learning to drive for the first time, while many other fully-licensed drivers need to relearn after they have become newly disabled. Driving as a physically disabled person is not the same as driving as a non-disabled person. Disabled driving usually involves extra skills and considerations.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about disabled driving schools, including what they are, who they cater to, where to find them, and the costs involved in attending one.
Are There Schools For Disabled Drivers?
Yes, there are many schools around the country that specialize in teaching disabled people to drive. They are most commonly referred to as adaptive driving schools.
Many regular driving schools also have specialist adaptive driving instructors on their staff. There are also thousands of excellent fully qualified freelance adaptive driving instructors all over the country.
What Is A Handicap Driving School?
A handicap driving school is a school that specializes in teaching people with disabilities to drive. Most physically disabled people will need to drive a vehicle with adaptive controls. These controls make it possible for a person with a physical disability, who could not drive a regular vehicle, to drive.
Most regular driving instructors are not experts in adaptive controls, so handicap driving schools are essential. Handicap driving schools usually work in conjunction with local hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
Who Do Handicap Driving Schools Cater For?
Handicap driving schools cater to drivers with physical disabilities and any other type of disability that can make driving more challenging, such as cognitive, perceptual, or learning challenges.
Disabled driving schools cater to new drivers who are learning from scratch, working towards taking their driving test and earning a license. They also specialize in re-educating drivers who have become disabled and need to learn to use adaptive controls, and perhaps take a re-test.
What Vehicle Modifications Are Available For Disabled Drivers?
There is a plethora of amazing vehicle modifications available for disabled drivers. The need to master these modifications is what makes adaptive driving teachers so necessary.
Some of the most common vehicle modifications are:
- Adaptive hand controls
- Pedal and steering wheel extensions
- Wheelchair lifts
- Reduced effort braking systems
- Left foot accelerators
- Transfer seats
Where Do You Find Handicap Driving Schools?
Most large cities have a dedicated handicap driving school. All jurisdictions have driving schools with specialized adaptive driving instructors on their books. Most parts of the country also have several freelance adaptive driving instructors operating locally.
How To Find A Handicap Driving School Near You
The best way to find a handicap driving school is to go online and search using keywords relevant to your local area. You can also contact other driving schools in your area, as well as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or your local DMV for recommendations of the best handicap driving school near you.
What Costs Are Involved In Attending A Handicap Driving School?
The cost of adaptive driving lessons varies by region and between driving schools. Some people choose to pay their own costs, but in many cases, costs are covered by local rehabilitation services, workers’ compensation programs, insurance policies, or grants from disability organizations.
Do Handicap Drivers Need to Take A Special Driving Test?
No, handicap drivers take the same driving test as non-disabled drivers. But because most disabled drivers will be taking their test in a vehicle with adaptive controls, they will need a tester who specializes in testing disabled drivers.
How Do You Book A Handicap Driving Test?
Book a handicap driving test through your local Department of Motor Vehicles. When you are applying to take your driving test, you must inform the DMV that you will be using a vehicle with adaptive controls.
It is ideal if you can take your test in your own vehicle – this way you will be comfortable with its specific adaptive controls.
How Do You Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit?
As a disabled driver, you are entitled to a disabled parking permit. You can get your disabled permit even before you have your own vehicle and license, and are entitled to use it on any vehicle you are traveling in.
To apply for a disabled parking permit, simply arrange an online consultation with a licensed physician through Dr. Handicap to make sure you qualify for handicap parking. If you do, the physician will write you a letter of recommendation.
With so many excellent handicap driving schools, adaptive driving instructors, and disabled parking programs all over the country, it has never been easier to get started with driving.