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How Do I Renew My Handicap Permit If I Have COVID-19?

For people with disabilities, having an up-to-date handicap parking permit is of the utmost importance. That permit allows them to access places they need or want to go without putting further strain on their medical condition. Handicap parking is given to people with disabilities so they can perform daily chores or enjoy leisure activities the same as those without disabilities.

When a person first gets their handicap placard, they have to go through a process of getting approved, applying for, and obtaining the permit. Handicap placards have an expiry date and need to be renewed before this date if they are still to be used.

Since a handicap permit is not permanent, some people with disabilities may be wondering how to renew theirs, especially in the wake of COVID-19. So, how do you renew your permit during COVID-19? And can you renew at all if you have an active COVID-19 infection?

Can I park with an expired handicap permit during COVID-19?

COVID-19 has posed some challenges for everyone, but for people with disabilities, those challenges may have been felt tenfold. This is especially true if someone’s chronic condition affects the way their immune system functions. Since a healthy immune system is vital to fighting off COVID-19, many with compromised immunity may have been isolated even further than those without a chronic disease.

person renewing handicap permit online
Image by cottonbro on Pexels: You can renew your handicap permit online if you have COVID-19.

One thing that may make the COVID-19 pandemic more difficult for people with disabilities is parking permit expiry. Depending on when you first got your permit (or last renewed it), it could have expired sometime throughout the pandemic. It’s hard to determine whether or not people with expired placards can still park in disabled places during the COVID-19 pandemic, because there are different rules and regulations surrounding handicap parking in each state. Some states have become more lenient with the rules because of the unforeseen circumstances, while others have not.

If you have an expired placard that has yet to be renewed, it’s important to check with your local parking authority whether you can still use it if it’s expired, or you may risk getting a ticket.

How to renew handicap placard during COVID-19

The best way to renew your handicap placard during COVID-19 may differ depending on where you live and how quickly the virus is spreading throughout your community. Many government services have been shut down at points during the pandemic or service has slowed significantly, making renewal of a handicap placard more difficult. To renew your placard, you can submit a request for renewal to your local parking authorities, either mail or by phone, up to 45 days prior to the expiration date.

The option for submitting a request is great for people with disabilities who want to avoid going into any center that could increase their risk of contracting COVID. If you have an active COVID-19 infection, you’re required to self-isolate so you don’t spread the virus to others. For a person with an active infection, renewing online is the best bet.

person using laptop to renew permit
Image by Liza Summer on Unsplash: Disability permit renewal can be an easy process, even with COVID-19.

How to renew handicap placard online

There are ways to apply for a permit renewal online that can be done from the comfort and safety of your own home while you are fighting off a COVID-19 infection. While state governments typically offer renewal requests via mail or over the phone, Dr. Handicap can help you apply online.

The easy online process gives you the opportunity to renew your handicap placard while keeping yourself and others safe from further spread of COVID-19. On the Dr. Handicap website, all you have to do is create an account and follow the simple online application process. 

COVID-19 numbers continue to ease in many places, with more and more restrictions being lifted, and many people are seeing this as a light at the end of the two-year pandemic tunnel. That being said, the virus is still out there and if you are infected, you need to do everything you can to avoid becoming part of the spread.

Featured image by Isaac Iverson on Unsplash

8 Safety Tips If You Need To Drive With A Mask

The coronavirus pandemic has made it necessary for some disabled people to wear a mask while driving. Wearing a mask is optional, and generally safe if you follow correct safety guidelines. Today, we will outline our top safety tips for people who need to drive with a mask.

Is It Safe To Drive With A Mask On?

Driving with a mask on is necessary for some people – sometimes for health reasons and sometimes for professional reasons. Driving with a mask is safe if you’re sensible and follow reasonable safety guidelines.

Is It Necessary To Wear A Mask While Driving?

It is not always necessary to wear a mask while driving. However, some people need to or choose to. People who drive for work are often required to wear a mask. Some people choose to wear a mask if they are driving very elderly or vulnerable passengers in their vehicle.

person about to put mask on in car
Image by Erik Mclean on Pexels: Is it safe to drive with a mask on?

Is It Legal To Wear A Mask While Driving?

Yes, it is legal to wear a mask while driving, provided it does not hamper the person’s view and ability to drive safely.

What Circumstances Might Mean A Disabled Driver Would Need To Wear A Mask?

The most common circumstances that make it necessary for a disabled driver to wear a mask are:

  • They are required to wear a mask for their occupation, e.g. taxi drivers and delivery drivers
  • They want to stay COVID-safe
  • They have elderly or vulnerable passengers who they want to protect

What Are The Potential Dangers Of Wearing A Mask While Driving?

Some of the potential dangers of wearing a mask while driving include:

  • Getting distracted
  • Impaired vision
  • Passing out
  • Overheating
  • Not being able to communicate clearly with law enforcement

Should You Wear A Mask In A Car With Others?

There are no hard and fast rules about whether you should wear a mask in a car with others. Cars are small and confined spaces, so some people choose to wear a mask in a car to prevent the passing of germs between people.

Driving Safely While Wearing A Mask

Here are eight safety tips if you need to drive with a mask.

1. Make Sure The Mask Is Not A Distraction

Distracted driving is dangerous. Make sure the mask you are wearing is comfortable and is not a distraction while you are driving.

2. Choose A Well-Fitting Mask

Masks come in different shapes and sizes. Stay safe while driving by choosing a good-quality mask that fits you well and won’t slip off or become uncomfortable.

3. Be Sure The Mask Does Not Impair Your Vision

No matter how well-fitting, masks can move about on the face. Make sure your mask does not impair your vision in any way, i.e. by riding up above your line of sight.

4. Don’t Allow Glasses To Fog Up

People who wear glasses may get fogged up while wearing a mask, but this can be dangerous when you’re driving. Make sure your glasses are fitted securely over your mask to avoid fogging up.

5. Pull Over If You Are Feeling Faint

Some people report feeling faint when they wear a mask for too long. If you feel faint or groggy while driving, always pull over to rest or get some fresh air.

woman wearing mask while in car
Image by Uriel Mont on Pexels: Should you wear a mask in a car with others?

6. Don’t Allow Yourself To Overheat

Masks can be warm and stifling. If you are too warm, you could get tired or even pass out. If you feel yourself overheating, pull over somewhere safe to get some air and cool down.

7. Remove Mask If Talking To Police

Masks can make communication difficult. If you are pulled over by law enforcement, remove your mask if needed to make communication easier.

8. Practice Safe Defensive Driving

Whenever you’re driving, with a mask on or without, you must practice safe, defensive driving. Defensive driving can be the difference between life and death. It involves:

  • Always having safety as your top priority
  • Being aware of your surroundings and vigilant
  • Not relying on other road users to drive safely
  • Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front
  • Driving at a safe and sensible speed
  • Avoiding any type of distractions.

How Can You Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit?

You can apply for a disabled parking permit by visiting the Dr. Handicap online clinic and arranging a video consultation with a licensed physician. Once the physician has verified your disability, they will complete the relevant sections of a disabled permit application form, which you can then submit to your local disabled parking authorities.

Featured image by Norma Mortenson on Pexels

Is COVID Making People Drive More Recklessly?

Driving is a privilege that some confuse with being a right. There are rules and regulations by which every driver must abide while behind the wheel. These are in place to keep everyone on the road safe. After all, cars are heavy machinery, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 1.35 million people will die each year due to car accidents across the globe. In the United States, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 54.

These statistics alone should be enough to ensure everyone lucky enough to own and operate a vehicle follows the rules of the road, but that’s not true for all. In fact, dangerous behaviors such as reckless driving are all too common – and may have become even more so during recent times. This leads to the question: is COVID making people drive more recklessly? Let’s find out.

What is reckless driving?

Reckless driving is defined as a willful disregard for the safety of people or property while operating a vehicle. In the United States, the laws surrounding reckless driving are clear; it is considered to be a major moving traffic violation. Although some may think that reckless driving is similar to careless driving, the two are not one and the same.

Some examples of reckless driving include speeding, tailgating (not leaving sufficient distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front), not using turn signals, running stop signs or red lights, drunk and distracted driving, and failing to yield to right-of-way laws on the road. The consequences of reckless driving can be serious. Aside from causing injury or traffic accidents, a driver who is caught reckless driving can be fined or imprisoned, or have their license suspended or taken away.

person driving car on empty road at night
Image by Gabe Pierce on Unsplash: Is speeding during COVID-19 on the rise?

Is reckless driving on the rise?

A report published by the National Safety Council in 2019 found that motor vehicle accidents causing death were actually decreasing. Between 2017 and 2018, they decreased by 2%, and then again between 2018 and 2019 they decreased by another 2%. The reasoning behind the decrease is not entirely known, but the report suggests that new laws and regulations, such as lowering the legal alcohol limit, go hand in hand with mitigating reckless driving.

However, pedestrians have paid the ultimate price for reckless driving in the past. According to the CDC, specific reckless driving incidents involving alcohol use account for close to half of all pedestrian accidents, with 17% of those being the driver who was under the influence. In terms of pedestrian fatalities, those numbers had also decreased by 3% from 2018 to 2019. Those downturns in deaths could be attributed to lowered rates of reckless driving – but after 2019, that has changed. 

Reckless driving during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been taking its toll on the world in various ways since early 2020, and when it comes to reckless driving, it has played a hand in increased traffic incidents. According to an article published in the Washington Post, it took only three months into the pandemic for drivers to begin engaging in reckless driving behaviors such as speeding. This has led speed-related crashes to increase as well.

With empty roadways caused by lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, many who were out on the roads began to speed well over the limit. The assumption is that with less cars on the road, these drivers believed they could get away with it; however, for many people disobeying speeding laws, crashes ensued. The same article in the Washington Post stated that 42 people lost their lives in car accidents in the 45 days following the implementation of the state’s first pandemic stay-at-home order. (In the same period of 2019, only 29 people suffered the same fate on Minnesota highways.)

empty highway road at night
Image by Sebastian Staines on Unsplash: With empty roads, some “crazy” drivers during COVID-19 have come out of the woodwork to drag race and perform other dangerous driving maneuvers.

Emptied roads have left room for people to drive recklessly, and multiple reports of drag racing, speeding, and driving well over the legal speed limit have been reported across the country. Although there is less traffic (down 41% overall across the country), the increase in traffic incidents is a cause for alarm.

Driving safely is the main thing people can do to lessen the risk of fatal or serious car accidents. Reckless driving may have been on the rise during the pandemic, but those who are part of the problem should know that driving is a right and not a privilege. Driving safely is a responsibility and should always be treated as such, no matter the circumstances of the road or the world at large.

Featured image by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

Valet Parking And COVID: Everything You Need To Know To Stay Safe

Valet parking can be super convenient. It allows you to relax and not worry about finding a parking space during busy times in busy locations. At hotels, restaurants, and casinos, being able to avail of valet parking means you can spend more time enjoying yourself and less time searching for a parking space. Having your vehicle parked by a valet can be quite the luxury!

As a disabled driver, you benefit from valet parking because it means you can exit your vehicle directly in front of your destination and therefore have less distance to cover. Valet parking can make a disabled driver’s life a lot easier. But during the COVID pandemic, when social distancing is being used to prevent the spread of infection, is valet parking a safe option? While valet parking is helpful and convenient, could it also be risky during the coronavirus pandemic?

Today we will discuss valet parking and COVID, detailing everything you need to know to stay safe.

What Is Valet Parking?

Valet parking is when an attendant (i.e. a valet) takes your vehicle and parks it for you. The valet will give you a ticket; when you need your vehicle again you show the ticket and it will be returned to you.

Valet parking exists to save you the bother of searching for a parking space. It is most typically offered by businesses to their customers, and is common at restaurants, hotels, casinos, and stores.

Dr Handicap - valet
Image by Olichel on Pixabay: Should I valet park during coronavirus?

What Are The Benefits Of Using Valet Parking?

The benefits of using valet parking are:

  • Time saving
  • Less hassle to find a parking space
  • Less distance to walk from vehicle to destination

The benefits to a business of offering valet parking include:

  • Fitting more customers in by parking vehicles efficiently
  • Attracting more customers by offering added convenience

Can I Use Valet Parking With A Disabled Parking Permit?

You can avail of valet parking services if you have a disabled parking permit. In fact, using a valet parking service can be even better than using a disabled parking space in that it usually offers the absolute shortest distance to travel between your vehicle and your destination.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit?

Not every business offers valet parking, so getting a disabled parking permit is still a very good idea. The qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit are:

  • Not being able to walk 200 feet without needing to stop to rest
  • Any condition that impairs mobility to the extent that the use of a walking aid such as a wheelchair, prosthetic device, cane, or brace is required
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • An orthopedic, neurological, or arthritic condition that seriously impairs mobility
  • Legal blindness

Valet Parking And COVID

Knowing how to park safely during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial because the disease is extremely contagious. So, is valet parking safe during COVID? Yes, provided that the valet service implements COVID safety measures.

What COVID Safety Measures Have Valet Parking Services Been Putting In Place?

Wondering “How can I find COVID-safe valet parking?” The best way to guarantee COVID-safe valet parking is to call ahead and ensure the business in question has strict hygiene and safety protocols in place.

To stay COVID-safe, all valets must:

  • Complete a self-screening survey every day
  • Wear disposable surgical masks and disposable gloves while working
  • Properly dispose of PPE
  • Avoid handshakes
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces
  • Wash hands per CDC guidelines
  • Use hand sanitizer
  • Follow SAFEPARK sanitization guidelines from the National Parking Association

Is Valet Parking A Higher-Risk Option During The Pandemic?

Valet parking is higher risk during the pandemic because COVID is a contagious disease, and if proper safety measures are not taken, a valet could pass infection on to their customers (or vice versa).

Should I Valet Park During Coronavirus?

If the proper COVID safety measures are taken by both driver and valet, it is safe to use valet parking during coronavirus.

Dr Handicap - parking lot
Image by Jordan Graff on Unsplash: Is valet parking safe during COVID?

What Can Disabled Drivers Do To Minimize Risk When Using Valet Parking?

When you are using valet parking during coronavirus, you can minimize risk of passing on or contracting COVID by:

  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Sanitizing your hands
  • Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces in your vehicle

How Can You Get A Disabled Parking Permit?

The best way to get a disabled parking permit is to arrange a telemedicine consultation with a medical professional through the Dr. Handicap online clinic. Once your disability has been verified by the examining medical professional, they will complete the relevant sections of the DMV disabled parking application form, sign it, and email it directly to you.

Featured image by Paul Volkmer on Unsplash

Parking Your Car At The Doctor’s Office: How To Maintain Social Distance

The coronavirus pandemic is still taking its course in the US. Many areas of the country still have high infection rates; COVID-19 is causing a lot of people to get sick and death rates are still high. There is also a lot of psychological suffering being caused indirectly by the pandemic. People are suffering from stress caused by anxiety, worry, and economic woes.

Even though it is safer to stay at home whenever possible, it is still necessary for millions of Americans to visit their doctor in-person during the pandemic. Many disabled parking permit holders still have consultations they need to attend because they can only be done in-person. For this reason, it’s essential that you know how to stay safe by maintaining social distance when visiting the doctor’s office.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event. The rules around staying safe are new and often subject to change. So, disabled drivers may have a lot of questions about how to stay safe when visiting their doctor for an in-person consultation during COVID-19… What is social distancing? What is the social distancing guideline for COVID-19? How can I safely travel with COVID-19 if I need to get medical care? How do you maintain social distance while visiting your doctor during covid?

We will answer all of these important questions today.

Dr Handicap - social distancing
Image by Tumisu on Pixabay: Maintain social distancing when visiting your doctor and whenever you’re out in public.

What Is Social Distancing?

“Social distancing” is a term most of us had never heard until the beginning of 2020. But now the vast majority of the humans on the planet have heard it (or their mother tongue’s variation, at least!). Social distancing is a public health measure implemented to prevent the spread of a contagious disease. It involves maintaining a set physical distance between people and reducing the amount of close contact people have with each other.

What Is The Social Distancing Guideline For COVID-19?

Social distancing is seen as being a major weapon in the fight against COVID-19. COVID is a highly contagious virus and so stopping contagion, or keeping it as low as possible, is extremely important. The social distancing guideline for COVID-19 is that people should stay at least six feet away from each other, even if neither person has any symptoms of the disease.

There are also various measures that restrict social gathering and household mixing. The specific details of these measures vary state by state.

How Can I Safely Travel With COVID-19 If I Need To Get Medical Care?

Traveling during COVID-19 is not recommended unless it is essential. Traveling to get medical care is considered essential travel. When traveling during COVID, it is crucial that you stay safe by following social distancing guidelines. If you are traveling in your own vehicle, the main danger points are getting to and leaving your vehicle, so maintain strict social distance during these times.

How To Maintain Social Distance At The Doctor’s Office

When visiting your doctor during COVID it is essential to maintain social distance. When parking your car at the doctor’s office, try to park in a space that is not surrounded by other cars. While entering and exiting your vehicle and walking to the doctor’s office, stay six feet away from other people.

Social distancing in waiting rooms is usually quite straightforward because you are only allowed to sit in certain seats that are at least six feet apart. It is important that you always wear a face mask while in the doctor’s office. Finally, wash your hands and use sanitizer after touching any surfaces in your doctor’s office or in the parking lot.

Dr Handicap - parking lot
Image by blickpixel on Pixabay: Stay socially distanced by finding a parking space that is far from other people.

How Do You Maintain Social Distance When Applying For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The best way to maintain social distance when applying for a disabled parking permit is to apply online using telemedicine. The Dr. Handicap online clinic will set up a remote telemedicine consultation between you and a licensed doctor in your state.

The doctor will examine you in order to verify your disability and suitability for a disabled parking permit. Once you have been approved for a disabled parking permit, the doctor will certify any forms needed for you to acquire access to your state’s parking program. It is a quick, easy, and socially distanced process.

Featured image by Bofu Shaw on Unsplash