Ever since I was young I knew I wanted to drive. I saw lots of my older disabled friends driving and was always eager to look at their cars and see how it would all work for me.
I was looking forward to not having to rely on family to get around. To be able to go out and see friends or go to the shops without having to plan way in advance. Even down to the little things of being at the front of the car rather than at the back would be such an improvement. I’d already built up a bucket list of places I wanted to go!
The process of getting a car when you’re physically disabled takes time. There are many appointments, finding out what movements you can do, how big your chair is and making sure you have a car that properly suits you. I’m very grateful for the scheme we have in the UK, Motability which meant I could really get a car that suited my exact requirements. It’s made driving so enjoyable.
I remember telling everyone when I was looking into driving how excited I was. I’d show them pictures of the possible set up and explain how it worked. The first comment I’d get from strangers was “Isn’t it lovely they make cars for people like you!”. And I always found this a bit strange. Because to me I was just doing what so many people in the world do and I didn’t really know how to answer. I would end up nodding and mumbling “yeah”. But I also understand from someone else's point of view that the first viewing of a car that’s adapted like mine (see tour here) looks complex. There’s lots of electric buttons, space for my chair and easy systems for me to navigate. It looks impressive and almost like I’m sitting in an aircraft driver's seat! I understand that for some people, cars are just fascinating. However, one aspect I’m still not used to is being called inspirational, just for driving. My friends who know me well will chuckle reading that bit. They know that I never know how to handle those comments because to me I’m just doing an everyday thing.
I think sometimes people hear the word “inspirational” and naturally link it with disabled people. But really, driving isn’t that inspirational - it’s something that everyone has the right to if they have the means to. My family has always treated me as me. Never lowered their expectations because of my disability and always encouraged me to do more in life if I wanted to. It doesn’t feel inspirational to do an everyday task.
So next time you see me or another disabled person driving, I challenge you to switch your thinking - afterall, we’re not that inspirational - we’re probably just trying to find fuel like the rest of the UK at the moment!
You can view all of our Motability offers by clicking here. Don't forget, we understand the best way to become familiar with a vehicle and discover if it is suitable for your needs is to test drive. That being said, finding the time to take a test drive can be difficult. With Peoples Ford Test Drive to You we can bring the test drive experience to you at home or work.
If you are eligible for the scheme, Motability represents one of the best ways to enhance your personal autonomy, with superb value for money and specialist support for customers. No matter what your requirements may be, our team of experts are on hand to help answer any questions you have. Some of the great benefits include: