Driving a substantial distance can be difficult for anyone. As a disabled driver, long drives may seem an even more daunting prospect. Luckily, these days there are more and more ways to modify your vehicle to suit your needs and make driving in general more comfortable. Developments such as these present many new opportunities for travelers with disabilities. There are many things you can do to prepare yourself before long trips, to ensure your comfort and safety. Read on for useful advice and tips to help make your future road trip as enjoyable as possible.
Ensure your vehicle is adapted to suit your needs
There is an array of possible modifications for your vehicle, which may enable you to have a more comfortable ride. Devices such as Steering Aids can enable passengers to control their vehicle using one hand. Many of these adjustments can be effective as well as inexpensive; think extra mirrors to aid those who have limited neck movement. Other, less permanent tools can help to better adapt your vehicle for a long journey too, such as wedge cushions for extra support while seated.
Research and plan your route
Before undertaking a long journey, make sure you know exactly where you’re going. Familiarize yourself with potential places to stop and refuel, or take a break (and if you have a physical disability, ensure that these are accessible for you). Make sure you’re aware of the weather conditions you will be facing, too; for example, if you’re driving in summer weather, there are special ways to prepare for this (read more here). The more research you do prior to commencing your trip, the more comfortable you will be on the road.
Arrange accommodation in advance
If you will need to make an overnight stop (or two) along your route, ensure you know where you will be staying. It will ease your mind knowing exactly how much driving you need to do to get to your next rest stop, and will help you avoid stress when it comes to getting some good-quality sleep before the next leg of your journey.
Start well-rested and take frequent breaks
Ensure you are well rested before you depart, as driving can be very tiring. Moreover, it’s important for all long-distance drivers to remember to stop and rest frequently, to avoid fatigue. Breaks are also a great opportunity to let people know of your progress on your trip, as well as make any adjustments you may need, or stretch if necessary.
Contact people along the way
Make sure you have a way of contacting people in case of an emergency. Ensure your cellphone is fully charged, and that you have all the necessary contact numbers. It is advised to check in with someone along the way (but not while driving, of course!). This will help put your mind at ease, as well as those who are close to you.
Take a refresher course with a local driving school
If you’re nervous about an upcoming trip, or about driving in general, it could be beneficial to take a refresher course in an adapted vehicle. If you’ve recently had to modify your car, or if you’re looking to brush up your driving skills, this could be a great option for you. This specialized service is offered by many driving schools, so check with your local school if they offer something suitable.
Ensure you bring all the necessary supplies
If you have been prescribed medicine to take regularly (which does not interfere with your driving), ensure you have adequate supply, and that it is accessible for you when you need it throughout your drive. The same rule applies to other necessary supplies; it pays to have snacks nearby, in case your energy is low, as well as drinking water readily available. These may seem like small details, but these things can make your journey a lot more comfortable.
These tips will hopefully help to make your journey as easy as possible, and ensure that you are well prepared for your next adventure. The golden rule is to research as much as possible; this will ensure your trip runs smoothly, and will put your mind at ease. Disability transportation issues should not hold you back. Whether you’re traveling to see family, on holiday, or for something else, the options available to you are constantly expanding. Safe travels!