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IMPORTANT: The following Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, consultation, treatment or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider such as an Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist, with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition, physical and or mental limitation, or products that are appropriate for you or your loved ones particular needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any of the Content.

Getting In/Out of Car

"Do you ever experience difficulty opening and closing the car door?"

Car doors can be heavy and difficult to open if you have any hand or arm problems. A door opener device can help.

Use a car door opener device
A car door opener device has a padded handle and grips the inside or outside door handle.  You use hand and arm leverage to open the door handle rather than using weak and/or painful fingers. 

Use a remote car door opener
Using a remote car door opener means you do not have to use weak or painful fingers to turn a key to open a locked car.  A numeric keypad can also be installed for unlocking the car.

Use a remote control sliding door
Automobiles are available with remote control sliding doors. These completely eliminate the need to grasp a handle to open and close the door.

"Do you ever have difficulty using a car key?"

Car keys can be hard to hold if you have problems with your hands and fingers.

Use a key turner 
If it is hard for you to grip and turn a key, place the key in a key turner device. It has a large handle to make it easier to grip than a small key.  It can be used when opening or unlocking the car as well as when starting or turning off the car. 

Use a remote car door lock and starter
Car remotes allow you to push a button on a key fob to unlock and lock doors and even start the car.  Using this device will eliminate the need to use a key.  A numeric keypad can also be installed on the car door for unlocking the car without having to use a key.

"Do you ever experience difficulty getting into or out of the car? "

Cars that are slightly higher, with wide opening doors and/or running boards are the easiest to get into and out of. Even if the car doesn’t have these features, here are some ideas.

Use proper technique
Always slide the car seat back as far as it will go before getting into or out of the car to give yourself enough room to swing your legs in and out of the car.

When getting in the car:

  • Turn your back to the car, hold onto the door frame and dash board for support if needed, then sit down.
  • Scoot back as far as you can into the seat then swing the legs in.

When getting out of the car:

  • Lift your legs out of the car as you swivel to face the door opening.
  • Scoot closer to the edge of the seat and hold onto the door frame and dashboard for support if needed.
  • Push up from sitting to standing.

Use a swivel disc
A swivel disk is a flat, round device that you place on your car seat.

  • The disc makes it easier for you to rotate and bring your legs up into and out of the car.
  • A plastic trash bag or piece of vinyl can be placed between you and the seat instead.
  • The disc, bag, or vinyl can be slippery under you when you are seated and should be removed before driving.

Use a strap
Use a special strap or handle that attaches on the inside of the car over the top of the door. This provides a support surface for you to use to help you pull yourself up to standing as you get out of the car.

Use a handle
Car handles are placed into the car latch of the frame of the car to create a support surface for your arms to push on when getting in and out of the car.  These handles are removed when not in use.  It is portable so you can bring it with you when you go in any car.

Use a leg lifter
A leg lifter is a device that loops around your foot. You then use your arm strength to pull on an attached handle to lift the leg into the car.  This can be very helpful if you have leg weakness or pain.

Install a swivel seat
A swivel seat replaces a standard car seat.  It is a powered seat that turns your seat in a swivel motion and then lowers the seat until your feet can touch the ground to make it easier for you to get in and out of the car.  The seat will swivel and lift you up and into the car as well.  The seat can be installed on either the passenger or driver's side.  

Cars can be ordered new from some manufacturers or the seat can be installed by accessible vehicle dealers.

Leave extra space for a walker when parked curbside  
If you are on the side of a car that is nearest the curb when parallel parked:

  • You or the driver should park just far enough away from the curb to allow you to place your feet and walking device on the street, rather than on the raised curb.
  • With your feet on the street, it will be easier to stand up.