Disabled Drivers: What To Do If You Become Exhausted While Driving

Fatigue on the road can be incredibly dangerous. Disabled drivers may be more susceptible to fatigue than other drivers, so this is an extra challenge to be aware of if driving for long distances. And what’s more, research shows that some people find car travel particularly sleep-inducing due to the soft vibrations and low hum of the engine.

Noticing the signs of fatigue and being vigilant is important for staying safe behind the wheel. Below, we’ll cover some practical advice for drivers who may struggle with exhaustion when driving, and will offer some tips for preventing and treating the first signs of tiredness while on the road.

What are the signs that you are a fatigued driver?

Driver fatigue usually sets in slowly – you may not be aware of it right away, but it is important to keep an eye out for it if you are undertaking a journey of substantial distance. Your thoughts may be drifting or you may be daydreaming, without really thinking about your driving or the road ahead of you. You may find that as your concentration falters, your reaction speeds slow. Your body may also feel quite stiff and cramped, and your eyes may be a bit sore. Your eyelids may get heavier and some drivers may even end up closing their eyes completely (which, of course, is the most dangerous part!).

Being aware of these things is the best way to prevent any serious accidents while on the road – if you notice any of the above signs, you know it’s time to pull over and take a break.

person exhausted in car
Image by Sinitta Leunen on Pexels: Is fatigue considered an impairment while driving? Most definitely.

What type of driver is most likely to be at risk of drowsy driving?

Any driver can be at risk of fatigue while on the road. However, you are most likely to become exhausted behind the wheel if you are already tired when you get into your car. Therefore, it’s best to start out any journeys (particularly long ones) well-rested and free of excessive fatigue.

Disabled drivers may also be more likely to experience exhaustion on the road for several other reasons. They may have to take strong medication or pain relief, which could contribute to drowsiness; in this case, it is very important that disabled drivers do not get behind the wheel while under the influence of these medications. If you’re a disabled driver who requires medication for your condition, it’s important to check the label of your medications to see whether drowsiness is a side effect, as well as discussing this with your physician, who will be able to give further advice.

Disabled drivers may also be at greater risk of exhaustion while driving for the sole reason that some medical conditions or disabilities can make car travel more physically and mentally tiring. If your medical condition makes driving difficult, then you should absolutely consider vehicle adaptations to make it more comfortable for you. However, it’s also important to be extra aware of the signs of fatigue if you’re in this position, especially if you are driving for long distances on your own.

How do I stop being so tired while driving?

As we’ve mentioned, the best way to prevent tiredness while driving is to rest well beforehand so you start each trip on a good note. In addition, there are several other things you can do to prepare for your journey and to prevent fatigue:

  • Plan your route, so you are aware of your surroundings in advance.
  • Ensure you stay hydrated and don’t become too hungry.
  • Avoid alcohol or any medications that may cause drowsiness.
  • Consider stopping overnight on long trips to break up the journey, and take frequent breaks along the way.
person resting in car
Image by Greyerbaby on Pixabay: Make sure you take plenty of breaks to prevent exhaustion while driving!

What to do when tired while driving

If you notice yourself becoming exhausted while on the road, it’s absolutely essential that you take a break as soon as you can – this should be your priority if you are experiencing fatigue. If possible, share your trips with another driver, who can switch with you when you need a rest. However, if this is not an option, the most important thing is to ensure you do not continue driving while tired – this can be dangerous for you and others.

With the proper preparation and awareness, you can greatly reduce the risks associated with fatigue on the road.

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10 Driving Tips That All Disabled Drivers Should Know

Driving with a disability can pose some specific challenges. Many disabled drivers need to operate vehicles that have been adapted or modified in some way. There’s plenty of good advice for disabled drivers out there, and following it will help you keep yourself, your passengers, and other road users safe.

There are several ways you can learn how to drive safely with a disability. One option is to attend a driving school for adults with disabilities. These schools teach people with disabilities how to drive as safely and effectively as possible. You can also find a lot of good information online about how to drive safely with a disability (including right here!).

Read on as we outline 10 driving tips that all disabled drivers should know.

woman driving vehicle
Image by Pexels on Pixabay: Driving with a disability can pose some extra challenges.

Disabled Driving Tips

Here are our top 10 driving tips that all disabled drivers should know.

1. Drive The Safest Vehicle Possible

One of the most effective ways for disabled drivers to stay safe on the roads is to drive a safe vehicle. Modern vehicle safety systems are highly effective, so driving a newer model vehicle will keep you and your passengers safer than driving an old model.

2. Make Sure Your Vehicle Is Well-Maintained

Another important tip that will help you stay safe is to always make sure your vehicle is well maintained. This means taking it for regular servicing and keeping on top of general vehicle maintenance. A well-maintained vehicle is a safe vehicle.

3. Drive A Vehicle With All Appropriate Disability Adaptations

Disabled drivers need to have all of the appropriate vehicle modifications for their specific disability. Make sure your vehicle has any disability adaptations it needs to make driving safer, easier, and much more enjoyable.

4. Stay As Calm As Possible Behind The Wheel

Stressed-out driving, erratic behavior behind the wheel, and road rage are big causes of injury and death on the roads. Always try to stay as calm as possible when behind the wheel. When you’re calm and collected, you’re much more likely to drive responsibly and safely.

5. Stay Safe By Implementing Defensive Driving

It’s always a good idea to implement defensive driving skills. Defensive driving involves:

  • Always having safety as a first priority.
  • Being aware of your surroundings.
  • Not relying on good driving from other road users.
  • Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
  • Driving at a safe speed.
  • Avoiding distractions.

6. Never Drive While Drowsy

Drowsy driving is a major cause of injury and death on the roads. If you’re tired, pull over and take a nap, get some fresh air, or have a coffee.

7. Never Drive Under The Influence Of Alcohol Or Drugs

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is lethal, and never worth the risk. You should also understand the effects of any prescription or over-the-counter medication you may be taking.

person driving car
Image by freestocks-photos on Pixabay: Disabled driving tips can help you stay safe on the roads.

8. Always Keep Your Vehicle Stocked With Emergency Equipment

It’s important for disabled drivers to keep their vehicle well-stocked with emergency equipment, such as:

  • First aid kit
  • Drinking water
  • Back-up medication
  • Snacks
  • Spare tire, tripod jack, wheel wrench
  • Tool kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Reflective triangles and a reflective vest
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Duct tape
  • Cell phone and car mobile phone charge
  • Warm clothes and blankets
  • Snow shovel, snow brush, cat litter for traction
  • Windshield washer fluid

9. Avoid Heavy Traffic By Planning Your Route In Advance And Using Satellite Navigation

Being stuck in heavy traffic is stressful and time-consuming. You can usually avoid heavy traffic by planning your journey in advance, traveling at off-peak times if possible, and using satellite navigation.

10. Always Have Your Disabled Parking Permit With You

Always make sure you can avail of disabled parking infrastructure wherever you go by having your disabled parking permit with you at all times.

How To Get A Disabled Parking Permit

You can get a disabled parking permit by applying to your local disabled parking authorities. The first step is to have a consultation with a medical professional licensed in your state. This can be done remotely by video conference and can be arranged online with Dr. Handicap.

Once the medical professional has verified your disability, they will sign an application form and email it to you. You should then complete the application and submit it, either by mail, in person, or in some states online, to your local disabled parking authorities. This will usually be your local Department of Motor Vehicles office. It’s a quick and easy process, so get started today!

Featured image by Larisa-K on Pixabay

3 Ways To Make Sure Your Disabled Parking Permit Is Visible At All Times

So, you’ve gone through the application process for a disabled parking permit in your state, your permit has finally arrived, and you’re ready to use it. We’re sure you’re ready to make the most of your disabled parking permit, and that you realize how much easier it can make driving for those who are disabled. However, it’s super important to correctly display your permit while occupying a disabled parking place, otherwise you may run into problems with law enforcement, even risking a fine or other punishment.

Even if you have an obvious or visible disability, it’s important that you never forget to clearly display your permit. Below, we’ll go through the correct ways to make sure your disabled parking permit is visible at all times so you can avoid any issues with the law. (Quick note: If you’re looking to use your disabled parking permit while visiting another state, make sure to check out your destination state’s relevant parking rules and regulations – read this blog for more information!)

How do I display a disability placard?

We already know that when parked in a disabled parking space, your stationary vehicle should clearly display your permit. So, if you’re wondering “Where do I put my disabled parking permit, exactly?”, there are numerous ways to ensure you’re within the law.

Dr Handicap - wheelchair
Image by stevepb on Pixabay: What are the rules for displaying a disabled parking placard?

Hang your placard from your rear-view mirror

Typically, most states offer disabled parking placards or permits that can be hung from your rear-view mirror. Disability placards are often hooked at the top, allowing you to easily attach them to the mirror.

Simply park your vehicle and before leaving, make sure you display the placard by hanging it in this way. Never drive with your placard hanging like this, or you may risk obstructing your line of vision, which can be dangerous.

Clearly display your permit on your vehicle’s dashboard

Alternatively, you can usually leave your disabled parking permit in an obvious location on your dashboard – just make sure it can be seen easily from the outside, so that parking attendants can quickly look in and spot it.

Get disabled parking plates

Many states offer disabled parking plates for those with permanent disabilities. The benefit of these is that they are constantly visible, as they are attached to the outside of your vehicle and therefore you don’t need to worry about constantly ensuring they’re displayed when you park. However, while many states offer this option to disabled drivers, it often incurs a fee, whereas placards or regular permits may not. This is worth taking into account too – although the fee is minimal, it could be an obstacle for some applicants.

Disabled veterans can usually apply for disabled parking plates – the cost of these varies per state. It can be anywhere from $1 to $20. You will typically be given the option to personalize your disabled parking plates too, should you want to do so, but be aware that this also incurs an additional fee.

It’s important to take into account the rules for displaying a disabled parking placard. If you’re a disabled driver with a permit, never allow someone else to use your permit, even if you share a vehicle, as this is a breach of the law. The benefit of having a placard rather than plates is that you can use your placard even if you are driving another car.

Your disabled parking permit will always allow you to park in reserved disabled parking, but some states go even further in what they offer to disabled drivers (such as free metered parking), so make sure to check the rules out in your own state to see what you are entitled to.

Dr Handicap - disabled parking sign on wall
Image by StephanieAlbert on Pixabay: How do I display a disability placard so that I can legally park in disabled spaces?

Uh-oh, I forgot to put my disability placard up and got a ticket!

This is unfortunate, but mistakes happen. If you simply forgot to put your disability placard up and were issued a fine, you generally have two options: simply pay the fine and be more careful in future, or contest it. However, whether this is possible really depends on the state.

Your best bet would be to contact local law enforcement and explain the situation to them, showing them your valid disabled parking placard. Each state differs in their approach to this, so it really has to be handled on a case-by-case basis. In some states, the court may waive the fee or cancel the ticket, but other states may not be so lenient.

The important thing is to try to develop a method for remembering to hang up your placard each and every time you park. By making it a habit, you’re sure to remember to always display your disabled parking permit correctly and avoid any problems.

Featured image by Nicolas Torres on Unsplash

9 Things That Safe Drivers Do

How do I become a super-safe driver? This is a question that all disabled drivers should be asking themselves. Driving is convenient and often enjoyable – but it can also be dangerous if not done properly and sensibly.

On the road, every driver faces an ever-present risk of accident, injury and even death. Driving safely and arming yourself with the skills to keep yourself and your passengers safe is extremely important.

So, what does a safe driver do whenever they’re on the road? What skills do safe drivers have? And how can you be a smart and safe driver every time you get behind the wheel? Today, we’ll be talking about some key things that safe drivers do.

1. Safe Drivers Don’t Rely On Other Road Users To Drive Safely

Safe drivers take full responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers. They don’t rely on other road users to behave responsibly at all times, because unfortunately, this often isn’t the case.

Other drivers may do dangerous and irresponsible things on the road from time to time, so it’s always essential that you keep a safe distance from other cars and pedestrians, stay alert to your surroundings, and expect the unexpected.

2. Safe Drivers Avoid Distraction

Distracted driving is often lethal. Many people get into accidents every year on US roads as a result of their own or another road user’s distracted driving. Safe drivers never allow themselves to be distracted while driving.

To avoid distraction, never use your phone while driving, avoid loud audio, and make sure passengers are calm and sensibly behaved.

person driving on snowy road
Image by Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash: What skills do safe drivers have?

3. Safe Drivers Become Experts At Defensive Driving

Safe drivers always drive defensively and are always improving their driving skills. Defensive driving means:

  • Always having safety as a first priority
  • Being very aware of your surroundings
  • Never relying on good driving from other road users
  • Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front
  • Driving at a safe speed
  • Avoiding distractions

4. Safe Drivers Never Drive When Drowsy

Drowsy driving leads to thousands of deaths on the road every year. Safe drivers know that when they feel drowsy, it’s essential to take a break, have a nap, and/or refresh themselves with some cool air or a cup of coffee.

5. Safe Drivers Never Drive Under The Influence Of Alcohol Or Drugs

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an extremely dangerous and irresponsible thing to do. Safe drivers only drive when they are sober. If you’re planning to drink when you go out, be sure to have another method of transport arranged so you won’t be tempted to get behind the wheel.

6. Safe Drivers Drive Safe, Well-Maintained Vehicles

Safe drivers always make sure that their vehicle is well-maintained, fully serviced, and in perfect working order. Safe drivers also use the appropriate vehicle modifications they need if they have a disability.

7. Safe Drivers Keep Suitable Emergency Equipment In Their Vehicle

Safe drivers always have the following essential safety equipment in their vehicle:

  • First aid kit
  • Drinking water
  • Emergency food
  • Back-up medication
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Duct tape
  • Cell phone and car mobile phone charge
  • Spare tire, tripod jack, wheel wrench
  • Tool kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Reflective triangles and a reflective vest
  • Warm clothes and blankets
  • Snow shovel, snow brush, cat litter for traction
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Coolant fluid
  • Oil
person driving vehicle
Image by JacksonDavid on Pixabay: How do I become a super-safe driver?

8. Safe Drivers Know What Weather Conditions To Expect

Driving in adverse weather conditions can be risky. Safe drivers always know what weather to expect on their journey and how to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

9. Safe Drivers Always Have Their Disabled Parking Permit

Safe drivers who are disabled always make sure to have their disabled parking permit with them. You can only use disabled parking if you have your permit and display it clearly, hanging from the rearview mirror.

How Do I Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

To get a disabled parking permit, you should submit an application form to your local disabled parking authorities. This will usually be your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The first step is to have a video consultation with a physician or other medical professional licensed in your state. This can be arranged through the Dr. Handicap online clinic.

Once you have completed your consultation and your suitability for disabled parking has been verified, the physician will email you a certified copy of your state’s disabled parking application form. You will then complete the form and submit it, along with any necessary payment and proof of ID, to your local disabled parking authorities.

Whether you submit your application to your local DMV office or to the tax collector’s office will depend on which state you are applying in. You can submit your application either in person or by mail, and in a growing number of states, you can submit your application online.

Featured image by Art Markiv on Unsplash

Does An Employer Need To Provide Wheelchair-Accessible Parking?

For those with a physical disability, having wheelchair-accessible parking is a game-changer. Ensuring you can get in and out of your car safely and easily is so important. Having wheelchair-accessible parking at the workplace can have a huge impact on your commute. This is particularly the case for drivers who are already nervous behind the wheel.

Getting a disabled parking permit helps you to access wheelchair-accessible parking. Applying for a permit is a simple process for those with a qualifying condition. While these conditions vary from state to state, they typically include those such as:

  • Loss of mobility
  • Loss of limb
  • Limited vision
  • Lung illness
  • Cardiac conditions

Unfortunately, it can often be difficult to navigate the world of disabled parking, as rules surrounding parking permits vary from state, and regional laws may differ. Many people are unsure as to what they are entitled to as part of their employment, and knowing employer parking laws can be confusing. That’s where the ADA comes in.

wheelchair user
Image by stevepb on Pixabay: What accommodations does an employer have to provide to employees with disabilities?

What Are The ADA Disabled Parking Rules?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was designed to protect the rights of Americans living with disabilities and offer standardized guidelines for employers to follow. The ADA sets the standards for what disabled parking spaces should look like. They should have a minimum size (eight feet wide, plus five feet of aisle space on either side) to allow for easy access to and from the vehicle, and they should also be clearly marked or signposted with the International Symbol of Access. They must be situated near the most accessible entrance of the building they serve, and must provide an accessible route to and from this entrance.

Does An Employer Need To Provide Wheelchair-Accessible Parking?

Any company with more than 15 employees has to abide by the ADA guidelines. Your employer must make every reasonable accommodation for you as a disabled employee. If an employer provides their own parking lot for employees, this must have a certain number of disabled parking spaces. If you have a physical disability and use a wheelchair, your employer must make a wheelchair-accessible parking space available to you if parking in a private lot is a perk that they provide.

However, some employers do not provide parking for their employees. This is not a legal requirement, so your employer does not need to provide it. If employee parking is not offered at your place of work (if your employer does not own their own parking lot, for example), it is not the employer’s responsibility to provide wheelchair-accessible parking. In this case, it is the responsibility of whichever parking lot the employee generally uses.

How Many Disabled Parking Spaces Should There Be In A Parking Lot?

The ADA sets standards when it comes to how many disabled parking spaces should be allocated to each parking lot. The amount of wheelchair-accessible and disabled parking places per lot depends on its total capacity. Under current standards, this means that for every 25 parking spaces there must be one accessible van space. For a lot that has 300 spaces, at least seven must be accessible. There must also be an access aisle provided to enable wheelchair users to easily enter and exit the parking lot without obstruction.

employee parking lot
Image by JayMantri on Pixabay: Do employers have to accommodate people with disabilities?

The Bottom Line: Do Employers Have To Provide Parking For Disabled Employees

While you have rights as a disabled parking permit holder, simply owning a permit does not mean your employer is required to provide wheelchair-accessible parking. The ADA states that employers must make all reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. However, if the employer cannot reasonably provide disabled parking, and if it places undue hardship on them, they are not obliged to do so.

Some employers may provide wheelchair-accessible parking, but there may be not be enough disabled parking spaces for each employee who needs one. Situations like this can be stressful and difficult to manage, but the best way to sort them out is to have a conversation with your employer to see what can be done to accommodate both your needs and theirs.

It is important that you can access wheelchair-accessible parking, and it is your right to do so. However, it can be complicated to negotiate what must be provided by your employer, and what constitutes reasonable grounds for the provision of disabled parking places. Fortunately, the ADA is there to help those with disabilities live life as easily as possible, and most employers are willing to make the necessary accommodations for their employees.

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