There are currently over 24 million licensed drivers in the state of California alone, which is almost more than the next two highest states combined. California is known as one of the most congested states from a traffic standpoint, with its’ freeways notorious across the country. With such a diverse variety of drivers on the road, it’s important to understand the types of conditions and drivers that will be on the road. For drivers with any type of physical impairment, whether it’s elder drivers or drivers living with a disability, there are various tips to help make the roads safer for both you and the other drivers on the road.
The Best Vehicles for Disabled Drivers- There are a wide variety of vehicles designed specifically to make driving comfortable and safe for drivers with physical disabilities. The Ford Offering features fully power seats and steering wheel speed control, meaning the driver can control the vehicle’s speed with just a few buttons. The best part is that this vehicle comes with these features standard, saving families thousands by including these amenities. The Chevy Traverse and Cadillac CT-R are also two high-end offerings to help make driving easier.
ADA- The American’s with Disabilities Act was established to ensure that public buildings have accessibility for disabled individuals, which usually means that there must be dedicated handicap parking spaces along with wheelchair ramps. Handicapped parking spaces must be 8 feet wide and also must be next to a loading zone also 8 feet wide. State DMVs are also prohibited from denying an individual a license just because of a disability.
The Law Has Few Exceptions- There are certainly some exceptions for adapted cars but they must be deemed safe. If they are considered unsafe, then the vehicle is subject to penalty per California’s vehicle safety laws. It’s important to remember that laws like headlights being on at night and brake lights functioning night and day will always apply to each vehicle on the road.
Improper Handicapped Placard Use- As a disabled driver you are entitled to a handicap placard that will grant you the ability to park in handicap spaces. However, if you have an handicapped placard and you allow someone without a disability to use it in their vehicle, both parties are not only likely to be fined, but use of the handicapped placard will be revoked.
For elder drivers, there are also a few things to keep in mind before heading out on the road to help keep you as well as other drivers on the road safe.
Only Drive in Optimal Conditions- You can drastically improve both your and other drivers’ safety by only driving in ideal conditions. Daytime, clear weather and quiet roads in familiar areas are all factors to consider before getting behind the wheel. If the weather is poor, think about postponing your drive or looking in to using public transportation. Don’t ever drive if you’re tired, on medicine or angry and if you have any alcohol, don’t ever drive at all.
Plan Your Trip Ahead- Before even starting your drive, plan your route so you won’t need a map or directions while you are driving. Use a GPS if one is available or even call ahead of time for directions. That way your focus can stay solely on the road and driving as opposed to texting/calling/reading directions or help.
Consider Classes and Refreshers- Taking classes to help you brush up on your skills or help you refresh your memory on rules and laws of the road is a proactive way to help reduce the limitations you have when driving. These classes will also help you take into consideration any changes in vision, reflex and reaction time and hearing. Most auto insurers will even offer a discount in coverage to people who have completed driver-safety courses.
With over 24 million drivers in the state of California alone, it’s more important than ever that each driver be as safe as possible both for them and for the other drivers they share the roads with. While drivers with any physical impairment may be faced with more challenges, advancements in vehicles and technology make sure that driving stays as comfortable as possible. Once on the road, take these and other tips into consideration to help stay as safe as possible.