Driving With

A Physical Disability


According to the 2017 Disability Statistics Annual Report, approximately 13 percent of Americans have a physical disability. In addition, 51 percent of these persons are considered to be working age (18 to 64 years), while roughly 41 percent were 65 years and older. Therefore, mobility is a key concern, and in most cases, a requirement for persons with a physical disability. It is possible for some of these people to learn how to drive and to regain some level of independence. It all depends on the type and extent of the physical disability.


We provide services to both individuals and clients of physicians or medical centers.


Safer Driver Solutions is the only private DOT certified driving school in the state of Iowa that provides driving instruction to people with physical disabilities. 

We understand that having a physical disability means that you cannot drive in the traditional manner. So all our students with physical disabilities learn to drive in our Mobility Trainer. Our Mobility Trainer is a Chrysler minivan that’s equipped with hand controls that make driving easy for our special learners. 

We also create an Individualized Driver Education Plan (IDEP) for our students. We work with each student’s family and their medical professionals to develop the best plan to get that student driving. 

There are three parts to our program:

Part 1


VR Simulator

We use our VR Simulator to evaluate each client’s driving skills in order to develop their IDEP. This simulator will help each student learn how to drive with hand controls in simulated driving scenarios, before taking on real traffic situations.

Part 2


Use of Our Mobility Trainer

At Safer Driver Solutions, our instructors are experts at working with our students to develop their driving skills in our Mobility Trainer

Part 3


Vehicle Modifications

Once a student masters the Mobility Trainer, then we work with each student and their support team to analyze and recommend the best vehicle and controls for that driver. We then connect each of our students with the resources that they need to provide the required vehicle modifications.


The American Community Survey identifies six types of disabilities. These include: cognitive, vision, hearing, ambulatory, self-care, and independent living. All (but the first option) can be considered as physical disabilities. Of the five categories, ambulatory disability is considered the most prevalent in the USA.


Driving is possible with missing limbs and/or limited hand-arm function. There are many adaptive driving equipment and vehicle modifications that can make this a reality. Some of these accommodations include:


Adding hand controls for braking and accelerating


Using power assist to enable easy steering


Including touch-activated ignition pads and gear shifts


Relying on automatic door openers

Persons who have very little hand function can use joysticks

In the case of stroke patients, a spinner knob attached to the standard steering wheel can facilitate one-handed steering. If there are missing lower limbs, then modifications can be made to the gas pedal to align the same with the remaining limb. 


There are some valuable tips to consider when driving with a physical disability.

Plan Ahead

You should try to plan the routes to your destinations as much as possible. Minimize the use of physical maps and calling friends for directions. It’s best to use your GPS as much as possible as you can program your destination ahead of time and simply listen for driving directions.

Minimize Distractions

Regardless of physical abilities, safe driving requires an individual to be mentally and visually aware at all times. Don’t be distracted by your phone, music, or your passengers. Give the road and your fellow drivers your complete attention all the time.

Drive in Favorable Conditions

Try to drive in bright, clear weather conditions and during the day time. Avoid driving in traffic as much as possible to make your driving experience less complicated. If the weather or traffic patterns are adverse, then it’s best to have a friend drive you or use public transportation. 

Get Extra Driving Instruction

While you may be able to figure out how to drive in spite of your physical disability, we recommend getting additional driving instruction from an expert to ensure that you are fully prepared. Plus, a driver rehabilitation specialist can help you to discover all the accommodations that you really need to be safe and comfortable on the road. 


DOT certified Driving Instructors

Contact us for a free consultation about how we can help you or your healthcare clients get back on the road to get a driver’s license or get you mobile again.


At Safer Driver Solutions, we work with each of our students to determine their unique needs.


We conduct careful evaluations where we assess:


Visual capabilities and muscle strength


Range of motion/flexibility


Degree of hand-eye coordination and reaction time


Fluidity of judgment and decision-making


Capacity to manage adaptive equipment


The impact of certain medications on driving ability



We don’t want you to live a life of limits. At Safer Driver Solutions, we work with you to ensure that you have maximum mobility and independence. Our owner is a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (DRS), and we are a member of the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED). We also collaborate with the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). So, we are well-equipped to help you get on the road with confidence. We are committed to giving the gift of driving to each of our exceptional learners!


We are committed to giving the gift of driving to each of our exceptional learners!

Contact us for a free consultation about how we can help you or your healthcare clients get a driver’s license or get you driving again.


Learn MoreStart Drivers Ed

Say Hello !

Contact us with any questions you have about Teen, Adult and Exceptional Learner Driving Instruction. We are always scheduling courses in the future, and can come to your location for on-road instruction, Winter Weather and Fleet Driver Safety.