Nowadays, disability is still a taboo in the society. However, everyday tasks seem to be much simpler than years ago. Technological development and modern cars allow almost complete customisation of the vehicle to the individual needs of the user. Owning your own car, tailored to your needs, is one of the most important elements that ensure the independence of people with disabilities in moving around on an everyday basis. Despite the many noticeable changes that have been introduced recently all over Europe in terms of adapting vehicles for the disabled, using public transport is still a big problem.
The car for a disabled person
Buying a car is always accompanied by a lot of emotions. In this case, it is worth to control them and consult the opinion of the specialists, who will help us make the right choice. When people with disabilities are planning to purchase a used car, they are advised to buy one that is not older than 3 years. This will allow the no stress usage.
We should also remember that the person recognized as disabled, who drives a car everyday and uses the parking card, has a right not to follow some of the road signs. This in mainly relating to ‘traffic ban’ sign or ‘no waiting’ sign. But one should be careful. It is the only privilege enjoyed by disabled people in this respect. In other cases, when the law is broken, exactly the same rules as to other traffic participants apply also to them.
Collecting the funds for the purchase of a special vehicle is just one of the challenges to be addressed by a disabled person. What is also extremely important is the selection of appropriate car equipment (special seats, elevators, often a manual control of the vehicle), which would complement deficiencies in mobility and therefore guarantee a comfortable and safe driving.
Recommended equipment should include:
- swivel seat for a driver/passenger;
- elevator (a device enabling moving a disabled person from a wheelchair to a car seat and vice versa);
- jack (simple and durable solution enabling moving a disabled person from a wheelchair to a car seat and vice versa);
- door handle (allows a stable support and makes it easier to lift the body when loading/unloading);
- crane (allows you to easily place the wheelchair in the trunk);
- disability step/stepping aid, disability handle;
As the results of the survey conducted on one of the portals focusing on disabilities, up to 42 percent of people with disabilities do not have their own car. Less than 30 percent in turn, bought the car from their own resources. Whereas, 14 percent borrowed the money for this purpose from the family or in the bank. What is more, 9 percent of the respondents have benefited from subsidies, and about 3 percent inherited the vehicle or received it as a gift. These results show that hardly anyone took advantage of the programs of auto-dealers and NGOs.