Signs That Help Disabled Drivers
A disability does not exclude someone from driving. Adaptations to cars can make driving much easier. Some disabled drivers can even use standard vehicles. Mobility problems, however, mean that all disabled motorists need parking places that provide handy access to shops and facilities.
There are various road signs that help. The aim of these is to encourage disabled people to use cars and thereby improve their opportunities for independent living.
Blue BadgeThe Blue Badge Scheme is common throughout Europe. Disabled people with severe mobility problems usually qualify for the scheme.
Disabled drivers should apply for Blue Badges from their local authorities. There is sometimes a small charge for this service.
Generally speaking, Blue Badges allow disabled drivers to park on yellow lines. The exception is when a road sign bans loading or unloading.
There are time limits for such parking in Wales and England. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland differs. Disabled drivers should seek full details about parking on yellow lines from their regional government.
Blue Badges also enable disabled drivers to park free at parking meters and in car parks with pay-and-display systems. Wherever they park, though, disabled drivers must display Blue Badges clearly. Failure to do so can lead to a fine.
Disabled Parking BoxesHigh streets and car parks have parking areas set aside for disabled drivers. Residential streets with parking restrictions also have disabled only parking.
White or yellow paint marks these areas. The words “Disabled parking” also appear within the parking area. Alternatively, there is a painted symbol on the road of a person in a wheelchair.
Disabled parking boxes may also have signs mounted on nearby poles. The signs have a white image of a person in a wheelchair against a blue background. A variation on this is a black image on an orange background.
Some disabled parking signs have more detail than this. They appear as a square sign with a black border and a white background. On the right is the wording “Disabled badge holders only”. In the top left corner is a white “P” in a blue square. Beneath this is a white image of a person in a wheelchair on a blue background. An alternative is the same sign but with a black image of a person in a wheelchair on an orange background.
Commercial Car ParksCar parks run by local authorities are usually free for disabled drivers. Other car parks may charge.
Disabled drivers should always read the relevant signs in a commercial car park. Some signs insist that disabled drivers can only have free parking if they use the appropriate disabled parking boxes. If these boxes are full, parking in an ordinary space and displaying a Blue Badge may not avoid a fine.
Other car parks offer disabled parking boxes and make no further concessions. These car parks expect disabled drivers to pay the normal parking fees. Signs by the pay machines give details. If there is no reference to free disabled parking on these signs, all drivers must pay.