Where can I get information about driving and arthritis?
Driving Mobility is a charity that helps people with medical conditions which may affect their ability to drive or get into a car. Your regional centre will be able to help with:
- driving assessments – the assessor can give advice on how to make driving easier and on gadgets (for example, panoramic mirrors and seat belt aids) which can help
- practical advice on special car adaptations, such as swivelling seats, wheelchair hoists or steering wheel knobs
- passenger assessments to see how you can get in and out of a car more easily.
The assessments aren't driving tests and they won't be reported to the DVLA, although it's still important to tell the DVLA about anything that could affect your ability to drive.
If you're learning to drive and have arthritis, it may be useful to visit a driving assessment unit. Members of the Forum of Mobility Centres also offer this service. You'll have to pay for an assessment.
You'll need to tell your insurance company that you have arthritis but, since the Equality Act (2010), car insurance shouldn't be any more expensive because of your condition. Shop around to see who gives the best quote. You'll also need to check with your insurance company and ask your doctor whether you can wear splints or a collar while driving. But remember, if your arthritis causes dizzy spells when you turn your neck you shouldn't be driving.
You may be eligible for a Blue Badge for parking, which can be issued from your local council. If you don't automatically qualify you'll need an assessment by your local council, who may ask your doctor to confirm your disability.
You're automatically eligible for a Blue Badge if you:
- receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and scored eight points or more in the 'moving around' area of your assessment – make sure that you check your decision letter if you're unsure.
If the above doesn't apply to you, you might still be able to get a Blue Badge if:
- you have permanent difficulty walking, or your doctor says that this difficulty is likely to last at least a year
- you cannot use your arms due to arthritis or another condition
- you're applying on behalf of a child over the age of two who has difficulty walking, or a child under three who needs to be close to a vehicle because of a health condition, including arthritis.
If you're not automatically eligible for a Blue Badge, it might be slightly more complicated to fill in the application form. If this is the case, it might be worth getting some help, for example from someone at Citizens Advice.