Today’s society is fast-paced, so having a sure way to get to and from meetings, errands, and the occasional fast-food run is absolutely necessary. However, one of the most common issues after amputation is maintaining the ability and freedom to drive a car. The good news is that driving with a prosthesis is very possible, and most states have policies regarding drivers with prosthetic limbs. And honestly, life doesn’t need to slow down for any amputees, as long as they are up to the challenge.
Aside from dealing with common inconveniences associated with forever-waiting at the DMV, there are a couple of steps that must also be taken in order for an amputee to gain permission to drive. At a minimum, every prosthetic patient is required to let their driver’s license organization know about the change to their medical condition. In most cases, patients will then be asked to visit an assessment center to find out if their vehicle must undergo any modifications to guarantee the safety of the driver and everyone else on the road. This will usually be followed by a re-taking of the amputee’s driving test to further verify the previous point.
Unfortunately, in some cases, some amputees will not be able to drive cars that have come standard from the manufacturer. However, this shouldn’t be a worry because there are several simple modifications that can be made to all automatic cars that will enable safe driving. Various hand controls can be added, such as hand brakes, steering knobs, and accelerators. Depending on which limb is affected, the gas and brake can be switched to the left side of the floor board, or the shifter can be moved from the middle of the front seat. Other upgrades can be made to the power steering, turn signals, and windshield wipers if needed, as well.
State-by-state regulations and policies of driving with a prosthetic limb can be found on each state’s extension of the DMV website.
The point of this blog is to remind you that your freedom can’t be taken away just because you are an amputee. Everything is possible, even driving. It just takes a little more patience, time, unfortunately money and a good spirit!