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Some driving tips for people with disabilities

Driving independently is fast becoming a possibility for people with disabilities in India. Modified cars are helping them do that. In western countries, automobile giants have created exclusively modified cars for disabled people. But in India, the wait is still on.

Apart from modified cars, disabled people must also ensure that they follow certain tips for their safety. As we all know, Indian roads and routes can be a nightmare for drivers with and without disabilities.

Musthafa Thorappa from Kerala designs customised cars for people with disabilities. His services are accredited by the central government as well.

People with different kinds of disabilities have different requirements while customising a car. For instance, a person who does not have movements in his hand will not have the same requirements as someone with a spinal cord injury. So I design vehicles according to that. - Musthafa Thorappa

Driving on Indian roads requires nerves of steel. So Thorappa says drivers must develop nerves of steel. "I would tell aspiring disabled drivers to not panic when something goes wrong. If they have a breakdown, there will always be a secondary option in a customised vehicle. That is how they are made. Also, look for handicapped parking at government offices etc as and when facilities are provided. "

Here are a few driving tips for people with disabilities

  • Plan your route - This is one of the most important tips for all drivers, especially to those who plan to go on long drives. Avoid checking maps, calling friends or texting them for routes while driving. This will only divert your attention and lead to an accident. You can switch on Google Maps before your trip starts. If you have a co-traveller, then nothing like it! You can use their help while getting directions.
  • Avoid driving in unsafe weather conditions - It is always best to drive your car when the sun is out - bright and sunny. Since most of the main roads and even highways are damaged, you definitely would not want to drive on a cloudy and rainy day. In case you planned for a trip and realise that it has started to rain, there is no harm in postponing your trip. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Ensure that there are no distractions - When on the road, a driver faces numerous distractions. This can affect their concentration. Make sure that you concentrate only on the road. Chatting with your co-passenger or even hearing music can deviate your attention. At the same time, if you are comfortable with it, then go for it. The road ahead must be your only attention.
  • Follow road rules - Nowadays, we see that many drivers cross signals and take wrong sides just because of their haste and hurry. This must not be done in the cost of someone's life. So even if a vehicle near you honks or tries to take a wrong turn, make sure that you stick on to road rules.

Prince Durairaj from Coimbatore loves long drives in his customised car, and he uses these occasions to promote road safety.

"Road rules are same for people with and without disabilities. So when a disabled person drives, they have to be super careful. More than your body, your mind must work at the right situations", he says.

Planning on a short or long drive? Follow these tips and ensure that you have a happy, safe and fun drive.

ALSO READ: 5 things you must know about wheelchair users

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