Abby from Wilburton – 17 – Birth defect missing lower right arm
Passed in an adapted automatic car, October 2018, Her first test with 3 Faults
I was born without a lower right arm, meaning I need an automatic car with an adaption on my steering wheel to enable me steer and access the important controls, such as lights, wipers, indicators, etc.
Before starting lessons with Keiran I had a few lessons with another instructor, but this didn’t work out for me, leaving me without an instructor. My dad spoke to a number of instructors but none of them were willing to teach me. My Dad found Keiran through the Disability Driving Instructors website, Dad spoke to Keiran about my needs and although he didn’t have a suitable car he was happy to teach me in my own car.
Once I started lessons with Keiran I made much more progress. I found Keiran very knowledgeable, friendly and approachable, he made me feel relaxed and confident. He spent our first few lessons helping me to drive with my adaption and teaching me to use it safely. Once I was comfortable driving in quiet areas, Keiran then took me into Cambridge, got me driving on dual carriage ways and taught me how to do my test manoeuvres.
One of the main problems I found using my adaption was that it was physically tiring to use, and my arm would become sore from holding the adaptor for too long. Keiran encouraged me drive within my limits and would encourage me to pull over and have a break to allow my arm to stop hurting. While stopped Keiran would go over what we had done or other areas of driving, once the pain had reduced we would continue driving. The more I drove the stronger I got and the less pain I suffered.
Keiran is the nicest, calmest and most friendly person I have ever met, he put me at ease straight away. When I made mistakes, he didn’t get flustered or angry, but calmly explained what went wrong and how you can fix it. He is easy to talk to just makes conversation and his awful jokes too and eased my anxiety massively both in lessons and in the run up to my test,
When Abby started lessons with me she already had very good car control after driving on private land and with her previous instructor, I taught Abby in her personal car, an automatic Vauxhall Corsa fitted with a Beaver SmartSteer System. The SmartSteer system allows Abby to steer her car accurately while giving easy access to all auxiliary controls.
Although she drove well and picked up speed quite quickly, Abby was quite a nervous learner. I believe a lot of this was down to her limited road knowledge and little understanding of driving routines and safe driving practice.
Other than the usual issues that all drivers need to work on such as mirror checks, signal timing and safe decision making Abby needed to work on safely using her adaption without taking her eyes off the road and looking at the control, once she mastered this the next issue Abby had to overcome was the difficulty she encountered in steering to the right and doing a left mirror check. This caused her major issues in doing a left mirror check when leaving a roundabout. We had to analyse how Abby approached and turned into corners and the position Abby’s arm and head took up, we found that Abby raised her elbow when she turned right making it difficult for Abby to turn her head to the left. With practice and trial and error Abby adapted her elbow position and overcame this issue. Once she had totally mastered her adaption Abby developed quickly and passed her driving test first time with 3 minor driving faults.