Driving Assessment Archives - Driving Mobility

Driving Mobility’s DrivAbility and RDAC successfully showcased services at The Big Event

‘The Big Event’ is Motability’s flagship event and the teams had a busy two days on the Driving Mobility stand.

Teams from Derby DrivAbility and Birmingham’s Regional Driving Assessment Centre (RDAC) represented Driving Mobility at Motability’s ‘The Big Event’ on Friday 28 June and Saturday 29 June 2019.

‘The Big Event’ is Motability’s flagship event and the teams had a busy two days on the Driving Mobility stand.

Henna Zaman, Derby DrivAbility and Steve Dent, RDAC (above) were ready and waiting to say hello to visitors on day one. They answered any questions visitors had about assessment centre services, driving assessments, modifications, adaptations, driving safety and vehicle loading. They also demonstrated the Ford C Max to visitors.

In addition to the stand activity Steve Dent, Assessment Manager, and Barbara Hutton, Occupational Therapist delivered talks on ‘advice and support available at driving assessment centres’ in the busy main Speaker Area.

The One Big Day programme of events will now take place in four locations across the country, offering disabled motorists and their families the chance to discover worry-free motoring.  The regional One Big Days are free to attend and offer visitors the chance to see a large display of vehicles for disabled people.

The event will showcase:

  • Over 50 cars from 25 different manufacturers
  • Over 20 adapted cars and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV)
  • Over 35 scooters and powered wheelchairs
  • Specialist advice from our Scheme partners

At One Big Day Exeter specialist advice will be available from:

  • Motability Scheme advisors
  • Adaptation and WAV specialists
  • Disabled Motoring UK
  • Driving Mobility
  • Kwikfit, RAC and RSA Motability

The One Big Day event dates and venues are:

  • One Big Day at Westpoint, Exeter, Saturday 27 July 2019
  • One Big Day at Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate, Saturday 10 August 2019
  • One Big Day at East of England Arena, Peterborough, Saturday 7 September 2019
  • One Big Day at Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, Saturday 21 September 2019

Please check the Motability website for more information: https://www.motability.co.uk/news-views-and-events/one-big-day/


Stockport stroke survivor regains driving independence through Driving Mobility’s new flagship RDAC Manchester centre

Philip Wilson, 62, from Stockport, has regained his driving life-line after experiencing a stroke thanks to the support of the new Regional Driving Assessment Centre (RDAC) in Greater Manchester, part of the Driving Mobility network.

Disabled driver

Philip Wilson, 62, from Stockport, has regained his driving life-line after experiencing a stroke thanks to the support of the new Regional Driving Assessment Centre (RDAC) in Greater Manchester, part of the Driving Mobility network.

The charity, Driving Mobility, accredits a UK network of twenty independent organisations which offer professional support and driving assessments to people who need to gain, or retain, the ability to drive following a diagnosis involving impairment or disability. RDAC is part of this network and has been in existence since 1989 – it provides assessments for older and disabled drivers, passengers, motorcyclists and mobility scooter or wheelchair users. Within its services practical advice is given regarding appropriate driving adaptations, WAVs (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles) and specialist tuition so that domestic and professional drivers can remain independent and safe. The new, custom-built RDAC centre in Salford represents a ‘flagship’ modern facility servicing people from Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire.

Following his stroke in January 2016, which resulted in left-side paralysis, Philip spent six months in hospital undergoing rehabilitation and physiotherapy. Once discharged, Philip requested to have his driving licence returned and was delighted when it came back with no restrictions. Philip comments: “I have always been active and mobile. Originally from Liverpool, I was in the navy until 1981. Shortly before my stroke, I worked in International Sales, leaving home on a Monday and returning on a Friday. I spent a lot of time driving and covered about 30,000 miles each year. Being able to drive is important to me and I was thrilled to have my licence back.”

However, due to his left-side weakness and eighteen months without driving, Philip found he had lost confidence and was unsure how to proceed. He had purchased an automatic car but could not find a driving instructor with an automatic dual-controlled vehicle to provide tuition and guidance. Following an online search, Philip contacted RDAC who invited him for a self-referral assessment.

Philip comments: “The Centre staff were welcoming and helpful. I met with Sean Barrett, the Assessment Team Manager, and John Allen, an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). The assessment they gave me was very thorough. They asked me about my stroke and rehabilitation and also about any medication I was taking. I had cognitive and visual tests and I could see they were observing the way I walked and talked. It was very detailed and I really felt I was in safe hands.”

Philip was then accompanied for a drive in a dual-controlled automatic vehicle and was able to try different adaptations that promote safe and comfortable driving. As Philip finds using left-side controls a challenge, such as the indicators, RDAC recommended a steering ball as well as a Bluetooth device which allows a driver to operate everything with one hand. The centre also provided a written report and details of external Approved Driving Instructors.

Following his RDAC assessment, Philip is driving with confidence again, supported by assistive vehicle adaptations. He is now able to visit the gym three times a week, with rehabilitation exercises specifically aimed at improving functionality.

Philip comments: “A stroke wipes out the memory bank in terms of movement, so I have had to retrain my body to do basic things. In fact, when I first left hospital, I had a competition with my little granddaughter to see who could walk first! My driving assessment was part of this retraining and the Centre’s response was so positive that the boost to my confidence has been huge. I thought “I can do this” – and I have. The Driving Mobility centres offer such a good service to people who are struggling with driving confidence. They have given me my independence back – an absolute life-line for me.”

Disabled driver
Philip Wilson in the driving seat with RDAC’s Sean Barratt, Assessment Team Manager (right) and John Allen, Approved Driving Instructor (left).



Wessex DriveAbility gives Basingstoke horrific accident survivor renewed independence

Steve North experienced life-changing injuries and reduced mobility during a horrific accident read how Wessex DriveAbility helped him obtain his licence and regain independence.

Disabled Driver Passing Driving Test

Steve North, 39, experienced life-changing injuries and reduced mobility during a horrific accident in 2016. Having previously never taken a driving test, in early 2018 Steve contacted Wessex DriveAbility, a Driving Mobility centre, for a driving assessment with a view to obtaining his licence and regaining independence.

The charity Driving Mobility directs a network of sixteen independent organisations, many with satellite centres, nationwide, which offer professional information, advice and driving assessments to people seeking independent mobility. Centres are staffed by Occupational Therapists as well as Approved Driving Instructors so that a full service, including advice on all aspects of driving and transfer in and out of vehicles, can be provided for drivers with injuries, disabilities or restricted mobility. Wessex Drivability is based at Portswood, Southampton, and also operates outreach centres to reduce travel times for service users. Wessex DriveAbility offers both driving and transfer assessments which include a full consultation, professional advice and a written report.

On the day of the accident, Steve, from Basingstoke, was walking with his wife when two vehicles collided on the bridge they were crossing. Steve was hit by one car and the impact propelled him over the side of the bridge. He landed feet first on the carriageway below. Steve comments: “My wife and I were going out for breakfast, as it was my birthday. I heard a bang and felt the impact of the car – but I don’t remember much after that. I fell fifty feet on to the road below. I guess I was lucky that that road was unusually free of vehicles!”

Steve was initially flown by air ambulance to Southampton Hospital where he was placed in a coma for ten days. He was then kept flat with limited movement for three weeks due to the risk of paralysis from severe injuries. With over twenty fractures, Steve had sustained an L1 spine fracture, a fractured pelvis, badly broken bones in his legs and knees and his left ankle was completely shattered. He was transferred to Salisbury Hospital where doctors fought successfully to save his twisted left leg, only to later have his right leg amputated at the knee.

Steve comments: “I left hospital in February 2017 and used a wheelchair initially but now have a prosthetic leg. I have ongoing physiotherapy and I’m due to have further surgery later this year to fuse my left ankle and relieve pain. Unfortunately, I have been warned there is a chance I could lose my left leg during the operation. Having had a few driving lessons many years ago, I have decided that now would be a great time to obtain my driving licence as I would like to retain independence long-term. “

Mr North visited Wessex Mobility for an initial assessment of his abilities, which included a discussion regarding his health and current medication, before trialling various adaptations and then being accompanied for a drive in a dual-controlled vehicle with a brake/accelerator lever hand control and steering aid.

Steve comments: “Laura from the centre came with me in the car and was absolutely brilliant. I was very nervous but she calmed me down and made me feel so confident. After the drive, I received detailed advice and a list of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) to contact. I am now taking lessons in an adapted vehicle and I go out driving three to four times each week. I am determined to pass my test and ensure that I keep as mobile as possible in the future.”