Whether you’re a disabled driver or you’re responsible for transporting a disabled passenger, planning journeys by car can be complicated. There are a whole range of practical issues you have to think about before you can set off on trips. To make your life easier and help you avoid problems when you’re on the move, it’s worth considering the following simple but effective tips.
Choose the right vehicle
First and foremost, make sure you select the best possible car. There are a whole range of vehicles available these days that are tailored to meet the needs of disabled drivers and passengers, and by spending some time choosing the most appropriate, you can make life on the roads much more straightforward. The internet is a good place to start looking. Specialist websites will often let you narrow your search down by specific criteria, making it easier to hone in on the best vehicles. For example, the website mobilitynationwide.co.uk, which offers a variety of wheelchair accessible vehicles, enables you to search according to price, ramp or lift access, front or rear disabled passenger seating, fuel type and transmission. It’s worth putting some careful thought into your purchase as the right car will make your journeys much smoother and more convenient.
Plan your route carefully – and do your research
All drivers should plan their routes carefully if they’re going somewhere new, but this is especially important when disabled motorists or passengers are involved. With some detailed preparation, you can ensure you have access to suitable rest and toilet facilities along your journey. As of 2004, all roadside services, including bars and service stations, are required to ensure their facilities are accessible. However, if you’re unsure about particular establishments, it’s useful to call ahead and check just in case.
If you aren’t already doing so, consider taking advantage of the National Key Scheme run by the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation. This initiative provides disabled people with standard keys that can unlock wheelchair accessible toilets across the UK. The purpose of the scheme is to ensure that disabled people have access to suitable, clean toilets when they need them.
Check any other facilities you may be using along your route too for disabled access and provisions, from hotels to tourist attractions. Doing enough research before you set off can save you major stress and hassle on your trip.
Always ensure you have a charged mobile phone with you
Experiencing a vehicle breakdown or another emergency can be particularly stressful for disabled drivers or passengers, so it’s vital that you make sure you always have a charged mobile phone to hand in case you need to call for help. It’s useful to have effective roadside recovery in place too. For long journeys, bear in mind that you might need to take an in-car charger or power bank to keep your phone’s battery topped up.
Check your car over carefully before long journeys
To reduce the risk of breakdowns, get your car checked over before you set off on long journeys. From testing oil levels and topping up windscreen washer fluid to making sure your tyre pressure is correct, there are a range of simple checks that should help to keep you safe on the highways.
Whether you’re driving yourself or a disabled family member or friend, following this checklist will help ensure your journey goes without a hitch.