Returning to Driving After an Accident

a girl driving from her wheelchair with her friend in the passenger seat

Getting Back Behind the Wheel After Injury

Depending on the extent of your injuries, your return to driving could look very different from someone else’s. Driving after an accident becomes a personal journey that requires a group effort between doctors, spouses or partners, other friends and family, driver evaluators and rehabilitators, and a local dealer with an inventory of accessible vehicles for rent or purchase. Each person has their own goals for your wellness and safety, but the most important person to listen to is yourself. Are you ready to return to driving? Once you address your emotional health and physical recovery, it’s time to turn to the specialists for help getting back behind the wheel.

Overcome Driving Anxiety

Just as important as the physical work of relearning how to drive with a new method of operating is, so is the mental and emotional work of processing your accident and becoming comfortable behind the wheel again. While you might be in a hurry to reclaim your driving independence, it’s important to make sure you are emotionally ready to do so.

Steps to Return to Driving After an Accident

1. First, begin as a passenger while someone else drives. Chances are, you have already been a passenger for a while after your accident as family or friends help you get to the doctor for therapy or just to get out of the house for errands or fun. A gradual acclimation back to the driver’s seat by being a passenger is a great way to start so you can observe the rules of the road in a safe test environment.

2. Next, invest in a safe vehicle. Depending on the nature of your injury, you could need accessible mobility for a short period of time or long-term. BraunAbility has options for each need. First, rental options. Rental wheelchair vans are great for many reasons.

  • They are perfect for cost-conscious consumers and can be rented by day, week, month, or more.
  • They allow you to try a vehicle before making a big purchase.
  • If something isn’t working for you, try another conversion design style.
  • Some dealers may have rent-to-own programs where your rental fees are put toward your overall vehicle purchase. Check with your local dealer if this is something you are interested in.

Another option that may work well for your long-term mobility needs is the BraunAbility Turny Evo. This is a swivel car seat that is programmed to your desired height and can turn and lower to help you enter and exit a vehicle in the front or second rows.

Lastly, if you know you will be in a wheelchair or with other mobility aids long-term, you may want to go ahead and look at BraunAbility’s fleet of wheelchair accessible vehicles. (Read: When it may be time to switch to an accessible vehicle.)

Aside from having many accessible designs to best support your needs, we also offer a range of vehicle trim levels so you can upgrade to extras like remote start, heated steering wheel, advanced safety technology, and more. Check out our vehicle makes and models.

3. Test drive in a quiet neighborhood or side street. When you contact your BraunAbility dealer to test-drive vehicles, take the van to a neighborhood that doesn’t get a lot of traffic or a calm street to practice driving. Once you are able to comfortably manage your anxiety in a low-threat area, you can gradually graduate to busier downtown and highway driving.

4. Work with a driver rehabilitation specialist. These professionals help to assess your level of strength and dexterity and support you when finding driving modifications for your next vehicle. These could take the form of actual vehicles or hand controls for disabled drivers for your current vehicle that let you operate the steering, gas, and brake systems all with your hands. Learn more about evaluation and certification requirements to return to driving. 

Pro Tip: Don’t forget EZ locks! These lock your wheelchair into an accessible vehicle floor for a safe and secure ride.

Get Started in Finding Your Mobility Equipment

If you’ve done the hard work in getting ready to return to driving, we’re here to help you the rest of the way. Get started here to take a quiz and find out what kind of mobility equipment might be best for your new driving needs.

Like what you see? Call, email or chat with us about the vehicle or mobility equipment to learn about your financing options, how to update your license, and where to see your perfect vehicle fit in person.

Get Started in Finding Your Mobility Equipment

If you’ve done the hard work in getting ready to return to driving, we’re here to help you the rest of the way. Get started here to take a quiz and find out what kind of mobility equipment might be best for your new driving needs.

Like what you see? Call, email or chat with us about the vehicle or mobility equipment to learn about your financing options, how to update your license, and where to see your perfect vehicle fit in person.

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