6 Defensive Driving Techniques That All Disabled Drivers Should Know

Most drivers have heard the term defensive driving. But what exactly does it mean? And why is defensive driving for disabled drivers so important?

Defensive driving is a series of actions and behaviors that will help you stay safe behind the wheel. As a driver, you can only control your own actions, not those of other drivers, so defensive driving techniques help you stay safe on the road, even if another driver makes a mistake.

Done correctly, defensive driving will help you avoid accidents by spotting hazards in advance and avoiding dangerous situations. It’s particularly important for disabled drivers who might have special physical or mental considerations that make driving more challenging.

If you want to stay safe and prepared while on the road, here are a few defensive driving techniques that all disabled drivers should know.

1. Follow the three-second rule

The three-second rule is taught to new drivers as a way of preventing collisions. It states that you should keep at least three seconds of time between yourself and the car ahead of you, so if they brake suddenly, you’ll have time to react.

However, for disabled drivers who might have slower response times, consider following a five- or six-second rule. If you know it will take you longer to react to something on the road, it’s completely OK to keep a wider berth between yourself and other drivers.

Don’t worry about cars behind you – they can pass you if they choose to do so. You can also yield or pull over to let other drivers pass you if they’re driving aggressively.

2. Drive at times of the day that are safest for you

What are some defensive driving skills specific to disabled drivers? One of our top recommendations is to only drive at times of the day when you’re most focused and alert, as this will help you stay safe.

For example, if you know you feel tired at certain times of the day when you take your medication, plan your trips so you don’t need to be on the road during these times.

person using phone while behind wheel of vehicle
Image by melissa mjoen on Unsplash: Driving defensively means avoiding distractions – especially cell phones – and focusing all of your attention on the road.

3. Minimize distractions

So, what should every driver know about defensive driving? If it’s one thing, it’s this: minimize distractions! Distracted driving is the leading cause of crashes in the US, so never take your eyes off the road.

If you need to check your phone, make a call, or change the radio, always pull over somewhere safe to do so. Avoid eating while driving, too – if your disability means you need to eat frequently for your blood sugar, always do so when the car is parked.

Taking your eyes off the road for a split second is all it takes to cause a collision, so don’t take the risk.

4. Scan the road constantly

To drive defensively, you should always be scanning the road. Keep your eyes on what’s immediately ahead of you, but also what’s ahead on the horizon, so you’re completely aware of your surroundings. This way, it’s easier to make decisions and react to upcoming problems, such as a traffic jam.

Keep in mind that scanning the road and paying close attention can be mentally tiring, especially for those with a disability. On long drives, take plenty of rest breaks so you’re fresh, or share the driving with someone else.

5. Use your mirrors

When you get in the car, always double-check that your mirrors are positioned correctly. If someone else drove the car before you, you’ll probably need to adjust them to your height.

As you drive, check your mirrors regularly, especially before you make a turn or switch lanes – mirrors are one of your most important tools for staying safe.

person reading map to determine driving route
Image by ali elliott on Unsplash: You’ll be safer on the road if you always know where you’re going before you get in the car.

6. Plan your route in advance

For some drivers, especially those with learning disabilities, navigating to a new place can be confusing and overwhelming. Reading road signs while driving, looking for the right exit, and focusing on the road can be a lot to do at once, especially if you’re trying to navigate as well.

If you’re someone who struggles with unfamiliar environments, it’s smart to always plan your route in advance. Review your directions and use a GPS to help you navigate as you drive. This will help you stay calm and focused on your driving, without needing to stress about where you’re going. If you do get lost and feel panicked, pull over and take a few deep breaths – it can be unsafe to drive while you’re feeling frustrated or stressed.

If you’re looking for more safe driving tips, reach out to your local driving school to learn more. Wondering “Why would someone take a defensive driving course?” It can be a great way to refresh your skills, especially if you’re out of practice.

Defensive driving is one of the best ways for drivers with disabilities to protect themselves. However, disabled drivers also have an easier time once they’ve approved for handicapped permits, which makes parking much more convenient. If you’re not sure if you qualify for one, you can ask a doctor today – a quick and easy way to make life on the road easier and safer.

Featured image by Brauilo Corona on Unsplash

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

Emotional Driving: Why You Should Avoid Driving When Stressed, Angry, Sad, And Even Excited

Road rage: it’s one of the most common emotions people have while driving. And while most people recognize that becoming enraged behind the wheel isn’t safe, what most don’t realize is how any strong emotion – not just anger – can be a danger to you when driving. The truth of the matter is that driving while stressed sad, angry, or even excited can impact your driving skills and create a dangerous situation on the road.

Read on for all you need to know about emotional driving, and how to avoid emotional driving to keep you, and everyone around you, safer.

How Do Emotions Affect Your Driving Ability?

Strong emotions, from happiness to sadness to anger, can impair your decision-making skills and cognition. They’re also distracting while driving. Stress, too, can cause some people to sleep poorly and become upset, and the feeling is often compounded when they’re on the road and have to get somewhere in a hurry.

When you drive with strong emotions, then you can easily become distracted. This can cause safety issues, such as:

  • Drifting onto the shoulder or into another lane
  • Failing to use mirrors in crowded places, such as a parking lot
  • Miss a stop sign or a red light
  • Hit another car or even a pedestrian
  • Speed in special zones such as construction or school zones

When your emotions are high, even the smallest incident on the road can trigger those emotions, making something as innocent as being behind a slow driver a much bigger issue in your mind – and potentially leading to unsafe actions on the road.

At the other end of the spectrum, being happy when you’re behind the wheel can also cause issues. If you’re in a euphoric or elevated state, you may be less careful in driving, not watching your speed closely, or not properly looking when completing a simple task such as checking your blind spot before changing lanes. Any type of distracting driving can have serious consequences – it doesn’t matter which end of the emotional spectrum you are on.

woman driving car in emotional state
Image by Paje Victoria on Unsplash: Wondering why you should avoid driving when stressed, and how can anger and stress impact your driving? The bottom line is that any type of emotional driving is dangerous.

Before You Drive

If you really want to make sure you’re driving as safely as possible, start thinking about your emotional state before you get behind the wheel. Give yourself a small time out to calm your emotions. If you’re feeling worked up, you should:

  • Take about 10 minutes to calm yourself down
  • Take a short walk and focus on your breathing before getting in the car
  • Talk to someone to help achieve a state of calm
  • Sit quietly and think about your mood, including what could happen if you got behind the wheel in an emotionally heightened state

If you’re in a rush to get somewhere, it’s even more important to take a few minutes to calm and center yourself before driving. It’s better to be late to something than it is to not get there at all because you’ve had an accident.

When You’re Behind The Wheel

If you’re driving, there are things you can do to even out your emotions. These tips can help you to stay calmer:

  • Create a comfortable environment. Make sure that the temperature inside your car isn’t too hot or too cold. If it’s not right, it can add to your emotional state.
  • Don’t tense up. Relax yourself behind the wheel. Make sure your muscles aren’t clenched and full of anxiety. Don’t grip the wheel too tightly or it can increase your feelings of tension.
  • Deal with frustration appropriately. When you find yourself become upset or frustrated behind the wheel, try turning on some relaxing music. This can be a good way to help keep yourself centered, but be sure to keep the volume low so you don’t trigger more anxiety.
  • Practice controlled breathing. Breathing exercises are a great way to relieve tension and help you to feel more relaxed behind the wheel.
happy drivers in car
Image by Sofia on Unsplash: How does excitement affect driving? In fact, much the same as any other heightened emotional state.

Driving and dealing with other people on the road can be frustrating, and if your emotions are already high, it can make the situation worse. The best thing you can do is recognize that you can easily become triggered by others and refuse to allow your emotions to take over in that moment.

If someone becomes agitated with you on the road, don’t let that pull you into negative emotions of your own. Behave courteously and calmly when dealing with other drivers no matter what, and your emotional state will serve you well in staying safe.

Featured image by mentatdgt on Pexels

How To Be A Responsible Passenger In A Disabled Driver’s Vehicle

When traveling in a vehicle, the most important thing is to stay safe to avoid accidents, injury, and death. Road travel can be inherently risky – because when it comes down to it, vehicles are large metal objects moving at high speeds, which of course involves an element of danger. Driving a vehicle is a big responsibility, because your own life and the lives of other road users are essentially in your hands.

It is not only the responsibility of drivers to ensure that road travel is undertaken safely. Vehicle passengers are also responsible for road safety. If you are a passenger in a disabled driver’s vehicle, it is crucial to behave appropriately and responsibly. Being a responsible passenger in a disabled person’s vehicle will help to ensure that you and your companion arrive at your destination safely.

How To Be A Safe Passenger In A Car

It is important to understand how to be a safe passenger in a car. Passengers have a large influence on drivers, and they need to behave in an appropriate manner. If passengers behave inappropriately they can easily cause a traffic accident.

Every year thousands of Americans die in road accidents caused by irresponsible passenger behavior. As a passenger in a disabled driver’s vehicle, you need to always maintain a high level of awareness and employ responsible passenger etiquette. Your life, and the lives of other road users, depend on you knowing how to be a responsible passenger.

disabled driver and passenger in vehicle
Image by StockSnap on Pixabay: What are your responsibilities as a passenger?

How Can I Be A Good Passenger In A Car?

Wondering “How can I be a responsible passenger in a vehicle?” There are several key ways to be a good passenger in a car. Some are quite obvious and others less obvious, but all of the ways you can be a good passenger are very important. It is easy to distract a driver and cause a road accident if you are not aware of how to be a responsible vehicle passenger.

What Are Your Responsibilities As A Passenger In A Disabled Driver’s Vehicle?

As a passenger in a disabled driver’s vehicle, you have several responsibilities. You must employ good passenger etiquette. You must not distract the driver. And you must provide any assistance that the driver needs in order to get to your destination safely.

What Actions Can You Take As A Passenger To Assist The Driver?

The actions you can take as a passenger to assist the driver will depend on what the specific driver needs and prefers. Some will require assistance, whether physically or with directions. Other drivers will just want you to be quiet and relaxed, and to not distract them. 

Here are our top tips on how to be a responsible passenger in a disabled driver’s vehicle.

Always Wear Your Seatbelt

It is essential that you always wear your seatbelt when traveling as a passenger. Put on your seatbelt before the vehicle starts moving. Not wearing your seatbelt is extremely dangerous, as is putting it on while the vehicle is moving, because this can distract the driver.

Don’t Be Loud Or Distracting

Being loud or distracting a driver is very irresponsible when you are traveling in a vehicle. Distracted drivers may easily cause an accident. So while you are a passenger in a disabled person’s vehicle, always speak calmly and quietly and do not play overly loud music.

Help With Navigation

As a responsible vehicle passenger, you should always be attentive and ready to help out with navigation if necessary. It can be risky for a driver to attempt to navigate with a phone or read a map while driving, so it is safer for a responsible passenger to perform any complex navigation.

Resist Temptation To Be A Backseat Driver

Most backseat driving is irritating and distracting. Avoid the urge to give driving advice while you are a passenger in a disabled person’s vehicle. Unless it is extremely urgent, give any advice and recommendations when the journey is over and the driver can give you their full attention.

responsible passenger in a vehicle
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: How can I be a good passenger in a car?

Don’t Point Out Distractions In The Environment

No matter how beautiful that mountain range off to the left is, do not point it out to the driver, because this type of distraction can easily cause an accident. Avoid drawing the driver’s attention away from the road to look at things in the road’s surroundings.

Encourage Safe Driving

Never hurry the driver and always encourage safe driving. Reward responsible and safe driving with praise and encouragement.

Help The Driver To Stay Alert

If the driver is tired, you can help them to stay alert. Do this by encouraging them to stop for a coffee or to take a rest. You can help them stay focused by chatting to them.

How Do You Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

If you have a disability that entitles you to get a disabled parking permit, the best way to apply is through the Dr. Handicap online clinic. On Dr. Handicap, you will have a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional who will verify your disability and complete, sign, and email your DMV application form. It is a quick and easy process.

Featured image by Bertsz on Pixabay

What Is Defensive Driving And How Can It Help Disabled Drivers?

Safety should be the number one priority for all disabled drivers. The unfortunate truth is that when traveling by road, there is always a risk of getting into a crash. Injury or even death are always possibilities when we travel in a vehicle, particularly if that vehicle is driven in an unsafe manner. But if we practice sensible, defensive driving, we can improve our chances of staying safe on the roads.

Tragically, over 38,000 people die in accidents on American roads each year. It is important to be aware of this grim statistic. By remaining fully cognizant of the dangers we face when driving, we can take the necessary precautions to mitigate those dangers.

Many of the crashes, injuries, and deaths that happen each year on American roads could be avoided if more people practiced safe, defensive driving. Far too many road accidents are caused by human error, negligence, a lack of concentration, tiredness, or aggressive driving.

Unfortunately, there will probably always be dangerous drivers who pose a threat to themselves and others. The best thing responsible drivers can focus on is reducing their vulnerability by driving safely and practicing defensive driving. Today, we will discuss defensive driving and how it can help disabled drivers.

What Is Defensive Driving?

Defensive driving is a type of driving intended as a defense against the dangerous actions of other road users and other hazards on the road such as bad weather. It is a driving style that is cautious and sensible, and that puts safety first.

Defensive driving involves a set of driving practices that are effective at defending the driver and their passengers from the dangers of road travel.

Dr Handicap - disabled drivers
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: How does defensive driving help disabled drivers?

Why Is Defensive Driving Important?

How can defensive driving benefit you and others, and why is it important? Simply, it is important because it keeps people safe. Road travel can be risky because other drivers often make mistakes and drive responsibly. Hazards such as bad weather and slippery surfaces can also make road travel dangerous. Defensive driving protects against these hazards.

What Are The Principles Of Defensive Driving?

So, how do you practice defensive driving? The main principles of defensive driving are:

  • Always sit high and alert behind the wheel, and keep your eyes on the road
  • Maintain full concentration
  • Minimize distractions
  • Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Slow down at all intersections and junctions
  • Be aware of any blind spots
  • Make sure other drivers can see you
  • Always assume other drivers may make mistakes

What Are The Benefits Of Defensive Driving?

So, how can defensive driving help disabled drivers? There are a lot of benefits to defensive driving. The main benefits are that it:

  • Keeps you safe
  • Keeps other drivers and pedestrians safe
  • Reduces costs of vehicle repair and insurance
  • Makes you a good example to other road users
  • Lowers your stress levels

What Are Some Examples Of Defensive Driving?

Some examples of defensive driving include:

  • Keeping a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Driving at a sensible speed and not going above the legal speed limit
  • Maintaining full concentration
  • Constantly checking your mirrors to be aware of your surroundings
  • Avoiding distractions from other passengers, loud music, podcasts, etc.
driver wearing seatbelt in car
Image by freestocks-photos on Pixabay: Practicing defensive driving benefits all road-users.

How Can You Get a Disabled Parking Permit?

If you have a disability but you have not yet gotten a disabled parking permit, it is a simple and quick process. The best way to get a disabled parking permit is to arrange a telemedicine consultation with a medical practitioner in your state through the Dr Handicap online clinic.

During a video consultation (which can be undertaken from the comfort of your own home) the medical practitioner will verify your disability. The qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit include:

  • An inability to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • Not being able to walk without aid from an assistive device
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Any condition that necessitates the use of portable oxygen
  • Legal blindness
  • An arthritic, orthopedic, or neurological condition that hampers mobility

Once your disability has been verified, the medical practitioner will fill in the relevant sections of a disabled parking permit application form and email it directly to you. All you need to do is fill in the remaining sections and submit it to your local disabled parking authorities.

Featured image by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash