The day to day

Driving

I was the overachieving teenager itching to drive the day I turned 15½. I dragged my mom to the BMV to get my temporary permit as soon as I could. Nothing will ever match the morning I got to drive myself to school for the first time. As my gateway to independence, driving quickly became a need for me. Not only could I drive myself to school and work, but being behind the wheel was borderline therapeutic. 

Fast forward to being 22 in a hospital bed, facing a right leg amputation. One of my very first concerns was how the amputation would affect my ability to drive. This is a question you may be asking yourself as well:

 

Can I Drive as an Amputee?

For many patients, including myself, this was one of the first questions I asked when I came to Abilities In Motion. As a right below-knee amputee with the need for an AFO on the left leg, I was overwhelmed with questions and baffled by the amount of information available to me. I found that every individual learning to drive with a prosthesis has a different experience, which explains why it seems so difficult to find the information that applies to you. 

When I decided to start driving again, I went to my doctor to complete a BMV2310 form for the BMV. This form allowed my doctor to decide whether I needed to retake my driving test or return to driving school. My doctor took my amputation type and other health factors into consideration during my discussion with him. We decided that I was okay to drive with my right leg prosthesis. We considered other options, but as I have chronic pain in my left foot and hands, we decided it was best for my situation to drive without any adaptive devices. I mailed the form to the BMV, and called to confirm I was in good legal standing to get behind the wheel.

When your doctor completes the BMV2310 form for you, keep in mind that you may be required to complete occupational therapy, take your driving test, and/or attend driving school again before being able to legally drive.  

 

If you need to learn to drive with adaptive equipment, there are two main options; a left foot accelerator, and hand controls.

In the above images, you can see a few of the adaptive driving aid devices available from Mobility Innovators.

 

This video shows a good example of what a left foot accelerator looks like. The video is courtesy of Motability Scheme. Essentially, the accelerator is modified and a new pedal is installed on the left side of the brake pedal, allowing the driver to use their left foot.

Hand controls are used by individuals with an array of disability types. This video at this link, courtesy of YouTubers, Kevin and Kassy, explains how Kevin uses hand controls to drive his vehicle. There are several different hand controls on the market, which Kevin also talks about. Rest assured, you will be able to find one that is comfortable for you.

 

After suffering an amputation, getting behind the wheel is exhilarating, and understandably so. In an attempt to gain as much freedom and independence as possible, learning to drive again was one of my top priorities. I understand the excitement. It is vital to remember to consult your doctor before driving. With so many options available with adaptive equipment, choose what works best for you and your situation. Your doctor and potential driving instructor can help you find what makes you feel the most safe and comfortable. 

 

Occupational Rehabilitation Centers & Driving Schools

Bick’s Driving School 

Western Hills

  • PHONE: 513-251-2100
  • WEBSITE: https://www.bickswesthills.com/Cincinnati-Adaptive-Equipment-Driver-Training.html 
  • ADDRESS: 6367 Glenway Ave. Cincinnati, Ohio 45211
  • Physician Referral and existing Driver’s License needed. Out-of-Pocket costs may apply.
  • Entire Rehabilitative Driving Program available at Western Hills location only.
  • Includes Clinical and Behind-the-Wheel Evaluations and training to retake your driving test with the Ohio BMV.
  • Clients are required to be able to independently transfer into a sedan. Wheelchair accessible van not available.
  • Members of ADED – the Association for Driver Rehab Specialists. Contracted to work with the VA community as well as OOD.

Daniel Drake Outpatient Rehabilitation

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center

Kettering Sports Medicine

Trihealth

 

Authorized Dealer in Cincinnati

American Bus & Accessories

  • PHONE: 800-582-7118 / 513-821-3220
  • FAX: 513-679-4424
  • WEBSITE: www.american-bus-inc.com
  • ADDRESS: 123 CityCentre Drive Cincinnati, OH 45216

 

What to Remember: 

  • A BMV2310 form will need to be completed by your doctor and mailed to the BMV before you can drive legally.
  • Depending on your individual circumstance, a clinical behind-the-wheel evaluation and driving instruction may be required. Occupational therapy may also be required for you to learn to drive again.
  • If you need adaptive equipment, you will need a prescription from a doctor or licensed driving instructor. Take this prescription to an authorized dealer for adaptive equipment installation. This will need to be done before you can retake your driving test.
  • As with all aspects of using a prosthetic device, have patience with yourself. Like using your prosthesis to learn to walk, you will have to learn to drive again.

Additional Resources: 

 

*This blog post is meant to be utilized as a resource and starting point only. It consists of personal experience and information given to us from rehabilitation and driving schools. Your individual circumstance dictates what applies to you. Please consult a physician before driving a motor vehicle.*