Accessibility

Driving

As a younger person, I endured many surgeries in order to improve my ability to walk more securely. Each brought its own benefit and for that reason, I have no regrets.

However, the most significant increase in my range of mobility occurred when I purchased my first car. Driving changed my life and even at times when walking is not possible my independence stays afloat because of my vehicle.

Initially, I did not require modifications or additional aids in the car but as my disability progressed so did my need for assistance. For example, once I started to use a scooter (instead of a wheelchair) I needed a vehicle large enough to place it in plus a support mechanism to lift it. Next came the addition of hand controls to alleviate the need to rely on my leg strength.

Fortunately for me, these changes came about around the time manufacturers introduced support incentives for drivers with disabilities. After all, a sale is a sale. Most provided a set amount of money to be used for modifications when a ‘new’ vehicle was purchased. No one provides a program for drivers buying used or previously owned vehicles.

No two programs are the same, therefore a bit of investigation is needed before you go car or van shopping. It would be a mistake to depend on your sales representative to be knowledgable about such programs. They may know specifics but I would not count on that alone. In past experiences, I have advised sales personnel, who then accessed the information and blended this within the sale conditions.

For me, having a vehicle without a lifting device for my scooter and hand controls is equivalent to having a car without keys.

 

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Access is a right
...not a privilege

Access by definition means right of entry. Now that you know a little bit about my access needs, use me as a benchmark. Look around and ask, how accessible is this building, venue, home, office, city, town, country – could Susan and others with disabilities enter with ease?

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