Who do I need to talk to 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, 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 provided 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 very severe 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 Disability Discrimination Act, 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. You will qualify automatically if you’re on the higher rate mobility component of the Disabled Living Allowance (DLA). If you don’t automatically qualify you’ll need an assessment by your local council, who may ask your doctor to confirm your disability.