Can People in Wheelchairs Drive?

For those in wheelchairs, having a set of wheels to get you around the house or when you travel is life-changing. But what about driving a car? Can people in wheelchairs drive? We will answer this question regarding people with mobility issues and driving a vehicle. Being able to get behind the wheel of a car opens up an entirely new world and adventure.

Just because you or someone you know is disabled doesn’t mean they cannot drive. Wheelchair transportation safety studied users who use wheelchairs, and the study showed that manual and power wheelchair users drive their vehicles.

How do people in wheelchairs drive?

The ability to drive a vehicle while in a wheelchair will depend on what part o the body has been affected by mobility issues. Even if the legs are affected, they can still drive once in the vehicle.  

A modified steering wheel may need to be used for those with more severe mobility issues.

Severe disability users that have both legs and feet impaired can still drive with the help of the following hand control devices:

  • Driver-assistance tools
  • Steering aids
  • Joysticks 
  • And other hand controls that are used to steer and control a vehicle.

Hand controls are one of the most common ways that wheelchair users will utilize if their feet or legs are not strong enough to push the gas or break in a vehicle.   

If a user’s hands work fine, using devices that run a car in both braking and acceleration systems by hand is the way to go. 

If you are in a wheelchair, can you still get a driving license?

The short answer is yes. There are no laws that say you cannot operate a vehicle just because you have to use a wheelchair. With that said, you will have to disclose your medical condition or mobility disability to an agency before you can apply for a driver’s license.  

This is done so the medical practitioner can review your application to determine if you can drive. The application can be denied if your condition is deemed unsafe or unfit to operate a vehicle in public. 

How can someone in a wheelchair get in and out of a car?

There are many ways a person who uses a wheelchair can get in and out of a vehicle. If the person has enough upper body strength, they can lift themselves into the driver seat.  

For those that need more help, there are wheelchair ramps for SUVs, wheelchair lifts, hoists, and other devices that allow someon9e in a wheelchair to get in and out of a vehicle. 

What accessories can be used for someone with mobility issues to make driving easier?

There are a lot of mobility accessoires for wheelchairs, but did you know that you can also use car accessoires for driving that allow for easier times if you have to drive while having mobility problems.  

  • Wheelchair restraints.  These restraints help keep your wheelchair in place when inside your car. These types of wheelchair restraints are an excellent safety measure, so your chair does not move while the vehicle is moving. 
  • Cushions that can swivel. Unlike standard wheelchair cushions, a swivel cushion helps get you in and out of a car easier because it can swivel, allowing you to get in a better position to get out of the seat.
  • Handy Bar:  This lightweight and small tool can help you get in and out of a car and into a wheelchair or out of the wheelchair into the car. It is used by sliding the tool into the opening in the door frame and gives you the ability to have a way to pull yourself into the car.
  • Portable wheelchair ramps:  These ramps are light enough that someone can take them with them to get a wheelchair into a van, allowing the person to get into the vehicle quickly and efficiently. 

In closing

Now you know that just because someone is in a wheelchair or needs to use mobility aids like power wheelchairs or scooters does not mean they cannot drive on their own.  

Many people who use wheelchairs and other devices to help with waking still drive themselves around in their vehicles with no issues.  

For those in wheelchairs, look for the above accessories to make driving more efficient the next time you get into your vehicle drive.

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About ASmith

Adam Smith is the main researcher and contributor at Mobility Medical Supply. Adam has many years of research in public data, and software security. With Mobility issues within Adam's family, he decided to dedicate in-depth guides on mobility products to anyone looking to improve movement and gain independence.

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