Disability Cars: The Technology Helping Disabled People Get Back onto the Road
The overwhelming majority of vehicles in the UK are designed with a particular kind of person in mind. That is, a person with full use of both arms and legs. Consequently, disabled people often find that they’re unable to drive, even if they’ve got years of motoring experience under their belts, prior to a debilitating accident.
While there are a range of promising innovations on the horizon, like fully driverless cars, the basics of driving are unlikely to change any time within the next decade or so. Fortunately for disabled people, there’s another, more immediate solution to hand: the disability car.
A disability car is one that’s been modified with the needs of disabled people in mind. They allow disabled people to perform tasks that most people take for granted, such as visiting friends and relatives, or going to the shops. While cars of this kind have been around for awhile, they’re getting vastly more sophisticated, thanks to a range of incremental improvements.
The technology that’s making disabled cars safer to Disabled People
For drivers with no use of their legs, hand-operated alternatives to the accelerator, brake and clutch are necessary. Automatic cars are usually favoured, but they’re not a requirement. Acceleration and braking are often covered by a single hand-operated lever – one direction goes forward, while the other brings you to a stop.
Improvements in voice recognition technology have made it possible for other features to used without the need to actively reach for them. Windscreen wipers, indicators and headlights might all activated using a voice command.
Adaptive cruise control is something that many mainstream vehicles are now shipping with. It aims to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, which not only makes life easier for the driver; it also reduces congestion.
A more recent innovation is the driver monitoring system. It’s the job of this system to keep track of the driver and establish whether they’re sufficiently alert. Of course, disabled people are just as prone to fatigue and concentration lapses as everyone else – but for some, maintaining awareness is a continual struggle. A system of this kind can make a real difference to quality of life behind the wheel.
Motability is a scheme that’s been running since the 1970s, designed to provide disabled people with vehicles which are adapted to their needs. It works by allowing people to exchange their mobility benefit for a functional car, along with all the necessary testing and insurance.
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