Responsibilities for safety
When driving, it is important you understand you have responsibilities to keep both you, and other road users safe.
Do not forget you need to tell DVLA if your disability has worsened since you first had your licence. If you have a query about whether your health condition will affect your ability to drive, you can contact DVLA Drivers Medical Enquiries. They will be able to assess whether or not you comply with the medical standards of fitness to drive and provide you with information of any modifications you need to make to your vehicle.
There are different rules depending on your age and the type of vehicle you can drive or tow. Check what vehicles you can drive and when.
Keeping your car safe
Car insurance gives you financial protection in the event of an accident. And some types also cover claims from injuries to other people. There are many car insurance options available, and you will need to look for what suits your and your family best. You also need to pay road tax on most vehicles (unless you receive the Enhanced Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment).
You also need to check that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards if your car is older than 3 years old. The garage will need to complete an MOT test. If it passes, they give you an MOT certificate. An MOT lasts for a year before you need to do it again. The date it runs out is printed on your current MOT pass certificate, or you can check online. You can sign up to get a free reminder by text message or email when your MOT is due.
There are other checks and maintenance you need to do; this will keep your vehicle safe and also may save you fuel. Check and top up engine oil, brake fluid and engine coolant regularly. You should check your car mirrors once a week to check they are clean and not damaged. Also turn on your vehicle lights and walk around to check they are all working. Tyres will wear down as they are used. You need to check the tread depth to see if they need replacing, and check the air pressure to make sure they are pumped up enough. Each vehicle comes with a handbook that tells you how often you should take your car in to a garage for service checks, its recommended tyre pressure and how to change things like the light bulbs.
Filling the car with fuel can be difficult for some people. fuelService let’s you find petrol stations close by that are able to help you fill up and notify them when you arrive.
Preparing for breakdowns
Even if vehicles are looked after, they can still break down and this can be a difficult and stressful experience, even more so with a disability.
National Highways traffic officers are often first on scene in an emergency on England’s motorways and major A-roads. Displaying the Sunflower sticker or magnet on the rear of your vehicle will indicate to traffic officers or emergency services that you or someone in your vehicle has a non-visible disability. When a National Highways traffic officer sees the Sunflower on your vehicle, they will ask about what support you may need to help keep you safe.
Do not forget to keep spare food and drink in your car in case of a breakdown delaying you getting to your destination. You might find it helpful to keep in your glove box a list of things you may need to remember to do to keep calm. It is also a good idea to take spare medication or equipment in your car if you think you may need this on a long journey.