I rely on my car. I use it every day. I can't walk anywhere. I also can't use public transport. My car is the thing that gives me the freedom to have a life outside my house. But I have found it increasingly difficult to maintain my car as my disability has progressed over the years.
Even something as seemingly simple as filling a car with petrol can be difficult when you have a disability. At most service stations it is necessary to walk into the service station to pay.
I have found petrol stations in my local area that have an electronic "pay at the pump" service. I can swipe or hover my card over the card reader, enter my pin number, and fill up with petrol. I do not need to walk all the way inside to pay.
I recently noticed a petrol bowser with a disability symbol on it. The sign said you could stop at that bowser from 2pm to 4pm and get served. You just have to honk your horn. Then the attendant comes out and fills your car with petrol for you.
This system is called Driveway Assist. Is run through the VACC. There is a full list of participating members on the VACC website (opens new window). Some outlets offer the service at all times. Others have limited hours. Check the website or your local service station.
If your local service station is not listed, they still might help you fill up. See if you can organise a mutually convenient time.
Service, repair and cleaning
We could not find any specific schemes to help people with a disability with car servicing, repairs or cleaning. The VACC recommends discussing your specific needs when booking. This will help the business to assist you with anything extra that you may need. Businesses should have customer service protocols to deal with any appropriate customer request.
The VACC also recommends requesting for your car to be cleaned during a service or repair. Most businesses should be happy to accommodate your request. Of course, there are also many hand car washing services available. Contact them in advance if you require any extra assistance while your car is being cleaned.
Roadside assistance is extremely important for anyone who relies on their car. It is comforting to know that there is someone to call for help. Common problems that can require assistance include flat batteries, tyre punctures and mechanical problems.
The most commonly used roadside assistance scheme in Victoria is administered by RACV. They also offer 24-hour emergency assistance for wheelchair and scooter users. The RACV website (opens new window) has more information.
Do you rely on your car? Do you have any advice for car owners with a disability? Please share your comments below.