September 07, 2017 at 8:45 PM
Using a wheelchair doesn’t mean that you need to be excluded from driving. To help you prepare for the practical part of your driving test we have provided below a guide to the key points to note.
Before the test
Although the legal age for starting to drive is 17, it is actually the case that if you get or have applied for the enhanced rate of the mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment, or PIP, then you are allowed to drive at 16 years old. This means that you can take the theory test at 16 too. There are various ways of booking the test but you will need to be sure to say when booking that you have a disability. You can book on the internet but if you would prefer to speak to someone to ask questions about the practicalities, there is a contact phone number or an email address. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) states that they will do their best to accommodate any disability, although do note that there are separate procedures for candidates with hearing difficulties or who are deaf without speech.
These days most driving test centres have been adapted so they are suitable for wheelchair accessible vehicles. If not however, the tester will meet you at your car. Normally candidates meet the tester in the waiting room beforehand but again you can arrange for them to come straight to your car. This must be arranged in advance by mentioning it when booking. In addition candidates bring their own wheelchair accessible vehicles or other adapted cars will need to make sure that it meets the Government's requirements.
During the test
If you have mentioned a physical disability when booking, you will be given extra time to do the test. This is based on the examiner needing to fill in additional paperwork but also takes into account the extra time you may need to perform certain driving tasks. Before beginning you will be asked a few questions about how your car has been adapted. Learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyspraxia can be accommodated too, again with advance notification. Throughout the test the examiner will be willing to adapt the usual examining method to accommodate your needs. During the test the key elements of driving skills that you are required to demonstrate are firstly the ability to control your vehicle and secondly a knowledge of the rules of the road.
After the test
When you have finished the test the examiner will tell you whether you have passed or failed and give you a DL25 form which lists any faults you have made, whether you have passed on not. You will also receive a pass certificate and the option to be automatically sent the full driving licence. And finally, if you have been inspired to take your test, we wish you the best of luck!