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Steps to getting on the road

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If you have never owned a vehicle or driven before as a person with a Mobility Impairment, there is a lot to think about & consider before you purchase a Vehicle & Vehicle Aid. When choosing to purchase a vehicle, the normal things to consider, include: comfort, reliability, performance, fuel consumption, price, colour, running costs, etc. You as a person with a Mobility Impairment will also need to ask yourself a couple of other questions to help choose the correct solution to getting back on the road. In this article we will ask some of these questions that need to be asked and also supply links to other informative web sites & online Motoring magazines, such as Auto-Mobility, therefore supplying you with enough information to:ask a couple of questions to help you make an informative decision and choose the right vehicle and "Vehicle Aids" to suite your needs.

This article below, will not only show you what types of Vehicles and "Vehicle Aids" would suite you, but also put you into contact with the right people to get you back on the road again, which includes:
• Learning to Drive
• Obtaining Disabled Parking Permits
• Applying for a Rebate, etc.

Steps to getting on the road

1. Will you be driving the vehicle yourself?

If you are going to be the driver, there is a wide range of specialist controls, from simple attachments such as wider mirrors and steering knobs to more elaborate controls that make it possible for almost anyone to drive as long as you meet the requirements for a driver's license. If you need specific adaptations, see also our guide to Car controls.

2. Can you transfer yourself & your Mobility Aid into the vehicle & will you need specialist equipment? 

You can also get specialist equipment to help with getting in and out, from swivel cushions and transfer boards to powered lifting and swivelling seats and hoists. You can view some information about the equipment for more complex solutions, see our page vehicle aids.

3. How much space will you need? How will you transport your wheelchair?

Think carefully about how you will carry your wheelchair, etc. in the car you are considering. Will the wheelchair fit in the boot? You may need space for equipment such as wheelchairs or scooters. If you have bulky mobility equipment, you may need a bigger vehicle like a Van or equipment that you can attach to your vehicle to carry the Scooter, etc.

4. Is transferring too difficult, would you prefer to travel in your wheelchair?

Some cars and vans can be adapted to make this possible. Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs). We outline the different possibilities in our guide to Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs). You can compare the different makes & models & the height & amount of space or numerous other dimensions of the vehicles.

5. What type of equipment will you need to help you get yourself & your equipment in & out of the vehicle & how will you be secured in the vehicle?  

You can purchase vans that have been heavily adapted and built around you and your wheelchair, which will allow you to be completely independent they will include automatic doors, ramps and docking systems to enable the driver to be fully independent & even drive the vehicle themselves. These are called Drive-from-wheelchair WAVs.

1. Try out the vehicle before buying it.

Try out before buying any car you are considering. Dealers may bring one to you, and should be able to find an automatic version. Try getting in and out several times. If you use a wheelchair, check that it fits.

Get plenty of practice
It's a very good idea to have lessons with an instructor using any adaptations you have chosen - and it's essential when you're learning to use a left-foot accelerator. Mobility Centres can provide details. Make sure that you are not driving with adaptations for the first time when you collect your car. 

If you're learning or returning to driving, you can get help from a specialist driving instructor. You can search for Driving Schools in your area by clicking Services. They use their own cars with adapted controls or will teach you in your own vehicle. Some of these schools use simulators.

To find out more visit the Driving Schools page on Auto-Mobility.

Driving Lessons

Parking Disks
If you have a disability & have a vehicle that is used to transport you or you drive a vehicle, you can apply for a disabled parking disc from the municipality. This disc allows you to park in allocated disability parking bays and exempts you from parking provisions in certain circumstances.
Wheelchair parking is a constant battle in South Africa, there is also no consistent registration system and each municipality throughout the country has their own registration system. This means that a wheelchair parking disk issued in one municipality is not necessarily recognized in another municipality, thus creating a major headache for anyone with a disability who travels!
To find out more about who qualifies for a disabled parking discs & how to register for them at different municipalities, visit our page: Disabled Parking Bays or view the article from the Auto-Mobility by clicking the appropriate button in the left Menu.

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