Get support with driving

Driving is a skill which can give you freedom and independence. It allows you to travel about within your community and further afield, get to work, and stay connected with friends and family.

This article is for older, vulnerable or disabled people who have already learnt how to drive but would like to know what support is available to help maintain their independence.

If you are interested in learning to drive please read the article Learn to drive.

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Declare a medical condition or disability

There are some conditions that could affect your ability to drive safely. You must tell the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if you have one of these conditions.

You can find out more about medical conditions, disabilities and driving and a list of health conditions that can affect your ability to drive safely on the GOV.UK website.

The motability scheme and other financial help

You are eligible to join the Motability scheme if you receive the higher rate component Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This means that the higher rate mobility component of your PIP will be paid to Motability so that you can lease or buy a car through the scheme. You can find out more by visiting the Motability scheme website.

You can get free road tax if you receive the enhanced mobility element of PIP.  You can find out more about vehicle tax exemption on the GOV.UK website.

Refuelling support

Some petrol stations offer a service for disabled and vulnerable drivers to prearrange refuelling assistance.

The fuelService app tells you which nearby stations have assistants available who will refuel your car, and enables you to ask ahead for assistance. It also tells them you have arrived, and lets you you how many minutes they will be. You can find out more information by visiting the fuelService website.

You do not need a smart phone to use the service. You can also dial their interactive voice service or send an SMS TXT message containing the petrol station’s number and your pump number. The service then contacts the station for you.

Adapting your car

There are many options for adapting a vehicle, such as:

  • hand controls to operate the accelerator and brake
  • steering wheel knobs that help you turn the wheel more easily and give greater control
  • accessories to help you get in and out of your vehicle like wheelchair hoists, ramps and tail lifts
  • cushions, covers and support
  • adapted mirrors.

Driving Mobility can assess what kind of adaptations you might need. There are 17 regional driving assessment centres across the UK. As well as adaptations, they will also assess your ability to drive.

Ask them to advise you on who can fit your adaptation. You should always get at least 2 quotes on how much it will cost. 

Scope’s website contains information about driving and motability, including how to get help with the cost of owning a vehicle, and adapting your car.

The Blue Badge scheme

The Blue Badge scheme gives disabled people concessions and privileges relating to parking.  These include parking in disabled bays, fewer restrictions on time limits and on being able to park on some single and double yellow lines.

Even though it is a national scheme, blue badges are issued by local authorities.

You can find out more about applying for a blue badge on the council’s website. 

Further information

Disabled Motoring UK is the charity which supports disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders. They work with government and businesses across the UK in order to improve parking, refuelling, and access provision for disabled people, so that they can access the goods and services that they need. You can find out more about what they do, including their Information, Advice and Guidance service on the Disabled Motoring UK website or by telephoning 01508 489 449.

The registered charity Driving Mobility accredits a network of 20 driving assessment centres covering the whole of the UK. Many with outreach facilities, these centres include independent charities and NHS centres which offer professional information and assessment so that disabled and elderly people can gain or retain independence.