Monday, June 25, 2012

Driving one-armed.

A few weeks back I broke my left shoulder and humerus in an off-road accident. Since then I've been living life one-armed, with left arm in a sling. Of course this means getting to grips with driving with only one arm. Fortunately my car has an auto box so that's really what makes it possible. Putting the seatbelt on is easy. Closing the door not so much as I have to lean out of the car and reach over to grab the handle with my right hand. Basic driving is pretty easy but I find myself driving about 5mph slower than normal because I can only have one hand on the wheel. Using the indicators is the most awkward thing though because the control stalk is on the left side. This means I have to pick my moment to indicate because I have to wedge the wheel with my knees and quickly reach through the top of it with my right hand. This isn't particularly safe but I still find it better to indicate my intentions rather than just maneuvering without warning.
For sure it's given me an enlightened view of driving when disabled. I'm going to get better and I'm sure once I am this will fade into memory, but it occurs to me that having able-bodied people designing cars (or anything for that matter) for disabled people is a bit hypocritical. There's a dozen things I'd change right away in my car if this was a permanent condition.
But none of them would be nanny items - I'm still quite capable of determining when to turn on the headlights and wipers thanks very much.