Most of us are reliant on our cars to remain mobile and the use of a suitable vehicle can make a huge difference, making everyday life easier and promoting independence. The basic design of the vehicle can have a big effect on comfort and ease of use, for example the height of different models varies widely and can really have an impact on your ability to get in and out comfortably. It is important when you are choosing a new or used vehicle that you try and sit in as many as you can. It is also a good idea to talk to other people with similar disabilities about their experience of choosing a car, they may have some valuable pointers.
If you are considering a new car, it is a major purchase and you will want to be sure it will meet your needs for at least a few years. As well as the cost of the car, you may need adaptations to help you drive it. These pages provide some advice to support you with making that purchase.
The Trust are gathering information on beneficiary recommended vehicles, if you would like to submit a recommendation about a car, an assessment centre, or a helpful dealer, tell us by filling in the form in the sections at the bottom of the form.
Buying a car is a big decision and an important one. We have produced a factsheet to help you.
There are quite a few options to consider when you’re buying a car; whether to go for a brand new vehicle, a second hand one, or lease one through organisations like Motability. The information below will help you with your choice.
Buying a Car
What do others drive? From our records the top 5 most popular makes are currently:
We would love to hear your recommendations and why you chose your car. Would you be willing to talk to another beneficiary seeking advice? Please let us know here:
Before purchasing a vehicle, it is strongly recommended that you have a driving assessment at a mobility centre. This is not as scary as it sounds! It is not designed to test your driving skills, but to help you understand what driving adaptations are available to keep you mobile and give you a chance to try before you buy.
There have been a lot of advances in motoring technology over the last few years, so it is always worth keeping up to date with the most recent advances, even if you have had an adapted vehicle before. Car adaptation assessments give advice about controls, seating and vehicle access. If you are experiencing increasing difficulties with transferring, driving from a wheelchair may be an option.
There are Mobility Centres across the countries that carry out these assessments. To find your local centre please visit: www.drivingmobility.org.uk
Finding and adapting a car to suit your needs requires you to consider a great number of factors and it can take up a lot of time and energy. It is essential to ensure that the car that catches your eye is capable of accepting any adaptations that you may need to have fitted, as not all vehicles can accept all adaptations.
There are some simple tips to consider, for example if you are having adaptations it is better in most situations to go for a model with automatic wipers and lights, etc, as this can work out as more cost effective than moving switches later to enable you to operate them.
We have produced a factsheet to help you - Adapting your Car Factsheet
Other places for useful advice are:
The Motability website at www.motability.co.uk/adaptations to find out about adaptations and to see video clips.
And the “Rica” useful guides”, visit their website on http://www.rica.org.uk/content/car-search
Do you have knowledge or experience of car adaptations that you think would be useful to other beneficiaries? Would you be willing to share your experience? Please let us know here: