Driving With A Disability: Paraplegic Demonstrates How She Drives

This article contains a video
Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via Tamara Mena
Tamara Mena
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

Tamara Mena, a paraplegic, says that driving is one of the main aspects people seem to be curious about when getting to know more about her life. She shares a video demonstrating the modifications made to her wheelchair accessible van and how she goes about the driving process.

“I know it can be daunting thinking about driving, but it’s so worth it.”

Tamara opens her van doors manually with her arms because her van does not have power doors. Once the door is open, there is a handheld remote she uses to propel the automatic ramp out. She then pushes herself up the ramp into the van, closing the door of the van when she is inside. Tamara then transfers from her wheelchair to the driver’s seat. The driver’s seat has a modification to where it is able to swivel back and forth with an automated switch. This modification makes transfers easier.

In the driver’s seat, Tamara starts her van and begins driving. Tamara drives using hand controls and a knob on the steering wheel. She describes hand controls as one lever that connects to both foot pedals allowing the foot pedals to be controlled by the hand. There are different motions for the brake and gas. Since one Tamara’s hands are always on the hand control, she has a knob on her steering wheel that makes turning easier for her. There is a mechanism on the back of Tamara’s van (similar to a delivery truck) that beeps when the van is backing up.

Tamara hopes that by sharing her video it will help raise awareness of why people with disabilities require certain parking spots. She says, “...because people don’t see a lot of times how people drive or how (people in wheelchairs) have to get out (of their vehicle.)” She also wants to motivate those who are newly injured to get out and drive to get a some of that independence back!

Do you want to share how you are able to drive with a disability? Share your story with us at Ablethrive.com!

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