How Do People In Wheelchairs Drive An Automatic Car – [Updated 2023]

Written By Cardiologist
How Do People In Wheelchairs Drive An Automatic Car – [Updated 2023]

People in wheelchairs have the same rights to drive cars as anybody else and this includes automatic cars.

But some people are confused about how do people in wheelchairs drive.

Because some people assume that since most cars are not equipped with hand-operated controls, the only way disabled people can drive a car is by using hand controls, but this assumption isn’t always true.

Some vehicles actually have the ability to be operated by pedals located on the floor or foot-activated accelerator and brake pedals, which allow someone in a wheelchair to drive the vehicle without having to rely on hand controls.

Not all cars are able to be driven by people in wheelchairs, but some are.

The truth is that most automatic vehicles can be driven by those who have disabilities so long as they have the right license and insurance to operate these kinds of vehicles.

How do people in wheelchairs drive? 

With a little bit of creativity and some special equipment, it is possible for people in wheelchairs to drive an automatic car.

Source: YouTube

There are many alternative ways to accomplish this, and the ideal option will vary depending on your settings or the needs and preferences of the individual.

Hand controls: These devices can be installed on a vehicle and allow the driver to operate the gas and brake pedals using hand levers or buttons.
Adaptive steering wheel: This type of steering wheel can be adjusted to accommodate drivers with limited arm movement.
Joystick controls: These devices can be installed on a vehicle and allow the driver to control the accelerator, brake, and steering using a joystick.
Driving Aids: Some people who use wheelchairs may use other driving aids such as head or mouth controls that are designed to enable them to operate the pedals and steering wheel.
Specialized vehicles: Some individuals who use wheelchairs may opt for a specialized vehicle that is designed to accommodate their needs. These vehicles can be modified with ramps or lifts to allow them to enter and exit the vehicle, and they may also have special controls and features that make driving easier.
Automatic cars: Many modern cars come with automatic transmissions which eliminate the need to use a clutch pedal. This can be beneficial for wheelchair users who have difficulty operating a manual transmission.

Why do wheelchair people choose an automatic car?

why wheelchair user choose automatic car

There are many reasons why wheelchair users might choose an automatic car.

One reason is that it can be easier to drive than a manual car, especially if the user has limited dexterity or strength in their hands.

Another reason is that automatic cars often have features that make them more accessible for wheelchair users, such as ramps or lifts.

Some people might also choose an automatic car because they feel it will give them more independence and be good for their health.

Some people think that if they will drive an automatic car then they will be able to burn calories and this will help them to lose their belly weight.

Manual cars can be difficult to drive if you don’t have someone to help you, but an automatic car can be driven by anyone.

This means that wheelchair users can go where they want, when they want, without having to rely on someone else.

Automatic vehicles do, though, have significant disadvantages. They can be more expensive than manual autos, and they aren’t always accessible.

But for many wheelchair users, the benefits of an automatic car outweigh the drawbacks.

No, matter which type of automatic car you are choosing you should try to drive it with your full satisfaction after folding your chair.

Helpful Note For Those Who Don’t Know About Automatic Cars

What Are Automatic Cars?

In an automatic car, the transmission can automatically shift gears based on the speed of the car. This means that the driver does not need to manually shift gears using a clutch pedal and gearshift lever which is a good thing for wheelchair users as compared to the steering wheel car. Automatic transmissions are usually more expensive than manual transmissions, but they can provide a smoother and more comfortable driving experience.

How do automatic cars work?

automatic car work

Automatic cars are equipped with sensors and computers that constantly monitor the car’s surroundings. When the sensors detect a potential hazard, the computer will automatically take action to avoid the hazard.

The driver does not need to do anything except pay attention to the road and focus on driving. Some people believe that automatic cars are less safe than manual cars because they rely on technology.

Automatic cars, on the other hand, have been demonstrated in studies to be equally as safe as manual cars, if not safer. In fact, many accidents are caused by human error, so removing the human element can actually help to reduce accidents.

Different types of automatic cars for wheelchair users?

types of automatic cars

There are many types of automatic cars for wheelchair users on the market. Some are designed specifically for use by wheelchair users, while others are simply modified versions of regular cars. Here are some of the most popular types of automatic cars for wheelchair users:


Vans are an excellent choice for wheelchair users who want a lot of space. Many vans come equipped with lift mechanisms that make getting in and out of the vehicle a breeze.


Sedans are another popular type of car for wheelchair users. They offer a comfortable ride and plenty of legroom. Many sedans also have features that make it easier to get in and out, such as power seats and doors.


SUVs offer a great combination of space and comfort. Many SUVs have features that make them easier to drive, such as automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.


Trucks are a good option for wheelchair users who need a vehicle with a lot of power. Many trucks have features that make them easier to drive, such as automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.

Whatever type of vehicle you choose, try a test drive before buying it to confirm that it meets your needs. And always consult with your doctor or therapist to see if a particular type of car is right for you.

Medical Benefits of automatic cars for wheelchair users?

There are many potential medical benefits of having an automatic car for wheelchair users because in this case, you will be free from hand controls.

For example, if a person has a disability that prevents them from using their legs, they would be able to use the automatic car to get around.

Moreover, for someone who is blind or has reduced vision, an autonomous car could provide independence and mobility.

People with certain medical conditions (such as arthritis) could potentially benefit from the use of an automatic car and will be safe from spinal cord injury.

Having an autonomous car for wheelchair users does, however, have some potential negatives.

The cost of such a vehicle may be prohibitive for some people. Likewise, depending on the vehicle’s design, not all wheelchair users may be able to enter the vehicle.

Nonetheless, the potential medical benefits of having an automatic car for wheelchair users are significant and should be taken into consideration by those who are able to afford such a vehicle.

If you or someone you know is considering purchasing an automatic car, consult with a medical professional to ensure that it would be the best decision for your particular situation.

what type of challenges do wheelchair users face while driving in an automatic car?

safety concern for wheelchair driver

While automatic cars are becoming increasingly popular, there are still many challenges that wheelchair users face while driving them.

One of the biggest challenges is finding a car that is accessible and equipped with the proper equipment to accommodate their needs.

Many manufacturers do not offer this type of vehicle, or if they do, it is often very expensive. Another challenge is finding a place to park.

Automatic cars require a larger parking space than manual cars, and many parking lots and garages are not designed to accommodate them.

This can make it difficult for wheelchair users to find a safe and convenient place to park their cars. Wheelchair users may also have difficulty operating the controls of an automatic car.

While most newer models come with features that make them easier to use, older models can be more difficult to operate.

This can make it challenging for wheelchair users to take advantage of the benefits of an automatic car.

Despite these obstacles, many wheelchair users find driving an automated car to be a liberating experience that provides them with a sense of independence and freedom.

With the proper equipment and support, anyone can enjoy the many benefits of driving an automatic car.

Helpful Tips For driving a car while in a wheelchair

is it safe to drive an automatic car for a wheelchair users

One important thing to consider when driving a car in a wheelchair is the type of car you will be using.

It may be easier to maneuver a smaller car than a larger one. You should also check to see if the vehicle has been modified so that you can get in and out without assistance.

Another consideration is the sort of wheelchair you use.

Some wheelchairs are not meant to be used for driving, so it is important to check with your doctor or physical therapist to see if yours is one that can be used for this purpose.

If it is, they will likely have some recommendations on which adaptations will work best for you.

Safety Concerns For a wheelchair driver’s seat

There are several safety concerns that a wheelchair user should consider when driving an automatic car.

The wheelchair must be securely fastened in the car so that it does not move around while the car is in motion.

Source: YouTube

The wheelchair user should double-check that he or she can reach all of the car’s controls without stretching or straining.

Third, the wheelchair user should be aware of his or her surroundings and be cautious when backing up or making turns.

If the wheelchair user experiences any problems while driving, he or she should pull over to a safe area and call for help.

By following these safety tips, a wheelchair user can safely enjoy driving an automatic car.

While there are some extra considerations that need to be taken when driving an automatic car as a wheelchair user, it is still possible to have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Final Words:

Wheelchair users are capable of driving automatic cars.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind, but with the correct equipment and some practice, it is possible.

Driving an automatic car can be a liberating and empowering experience for wheelchair users.

With a little bit of creativity and some special equipment, anyone can enjoy the many benefits of driving an automatic car.

When driving an automatic car as a wheelchair user, although, safety concerns must be considered.

By following some simple safety tips, you can safely enjoy the freedom and independence that comes with driving an automatic car.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drive if your legs are paralyzed?

Many persons who are paralyzed, including those with severely restricted hand and arm function, can drive.
Today’s market offers a wide selection of adaptive driving devices and vehicle modifications. Driving with a disability frequently necessitates retraining.

How do you drive a car with no legs?

If you have lost your legs or are born without them, driving a car may seem like an impossible task. Adaptive gadgets and technology, on the other hand, can enable you to operate an automobile without legs.
There are two main types of adaptive devices for legless drivers: hand controls and pedal extenders. Hand controls operate the gas and brake pedals using levers that are controlled by your hands, while pedal extenders allow you to drive using your feet.

How do paraplegics drive a car?

A joystick can be used to drive by persons who have limited arm movement. They can also drive while seated in their wheelchairs, and they control the car with their own wheelchair joystick after locking their wheelchair into the floor lock.

Can guys in wheelchairs get hard?

The sacral section (S2–S4) of the spinal cord contains the nerves that control a man’s capacity to develop a reflex erection.
Unless the S2–S4 pathway is disrupted, most paraplegic men can have a reflex erection when they are physically stimulated.

What could be used if a person is unable to walk to the toilet?

If a person is unable to walk to the toilet, they could use a bedpan or catheter. A bedpan is a ceramic or metal bowl that is placed under the patient’s buttocks to collect urine and feces. A catheter is a tube that is inserted through the urinary meatus into the bladder to allow for the drainage of urine.

Can you drive a car without using your feet?

Yes, you can. Therefore, this is not recommended. Some people can drive a car by steering with their hands and pressing the gas and stop pedals with their elbows. This procedure, meanwhile, is not suggested because it is difficult to execute and potentially harmful. It is much safer and easier to use your feet to control the car.

Are all wheelchair users paralyzed?

No, not all wheelchair users are paralyzed. Some people use wheelchairs because they have difficulty walking, and others use them because they have a condition that makes it difficult or impossible to walk.
Some people use electric wheelchairs, while others use manual ones. There are many different reasons why someone might use a wheelchair, so it’s not accurate to say that all wheelchair users are paralyzed.

Tiny Nair

Article by

Tiny Nair, MD, DM, FACC, FRCP, is a cardiologist and head of Dept of Cardiology at PRS Hospital in Trivandrum. He is also an author, fluent in Middle English and offers consultations on finding the best wheelchair according to individual needs.