Established in 2006, Wessex DriveAbility is an independent charity and is part of a network of 17 mobility centres throughout the UK, known as Driving Mobility Centres (previously known at Forum of Mobility centres).
The aim of the service is to help people start learning to drive, continue to drive and maintain their independence and to find vehicle mobility solutions for those no longer able to drive. Driving and transfer assessments are provided, along with advice to the elderly and to those with medical conditions and disabilities. As an information and advice service, Wessex DriveAbility can signpost to other organisations where appropriate.
The friendly Wessex DriveAbility team consists of highly specialist Occupational Therapists and Approved Driving Instructors, supported by a knowledgeable administration team. A fleet of dual controlled vehicles is available, fitted with and without a range of adaptations.
Whilst Wessex DriveAbility carry out assessments on behalf of the DVLA, Motability and other referring agencies including medical professionals, referrals can be made on a private basis. Confidential written reports are provided following all assessments.
Wessex DriveAbility are based in Southampton with outreach locations in Salisbury, Basingstoke and the Isle of Wight.
Who should attend?
Anyone with a physical or cognitive issue related to driving, or those wishing to carryout an on-road fitness to drive assessment. A driving licence is required. The scheme is designed for those who have a diagnosed notifiable medical condition.
Click here to see the list of notifiable medical conditions
What does the assessment involve?
An initial consultation of approximately 40 minutes with a Driving Advisor and/or an Occupational Therapist, where medical and driving history is reviewed. Where appropriate, simple physical checks are carried out, possibly a reaction time test and/or a 10 minute paper based exercise to assess cognition (such as memory and concentration).
Following the pre-drive consultation, an off-road assessment is carried out which will include a vision test and vehicle familiarisation. Where appropriate, the assessment will then progress onto public roads, covering no more than 15 miles. At the end of the assessment, a recommendation will be made.
Unfortunately, drivers cannot use their own vehicle for the driving assessment. However, it may be useful to look at the driver’s vehicle and existing adaptations where appropriate.
See the below video on what to expect during an assessment at a mobility centre
How much does an assessment cost?
Wessex DriveAbility receives funding from the Department of Transport to assist with subsidising the cost of private referrals.
£95 for a Driving assessment
£59 for a Transfer assessment
How to book an Assessment?
Please visit www.wessexdriveability.org.uk to complete our online application form or call us on 023 8055 4100 for an application pack.
Just some feedback that has been received from people who have undertaken an assessment with Wessex DriveAbility:
I found the assessment excellent and appreciate the advice and observations given by the very professional assessors. As a result I have come away from the assessment a better driver due to the observations and advice given. Thank You.
I thought the assessment was well designed, good attention to detail and professionally presented.
The comments were justified and advice constructive. The initial introduction went some way to putting me at ease.
I was glad I did the assessment, no matter how old you are you can always learn, thank you
I really enjoyed the assessment, it made me realise that we forget things when we have been driving for many years. I think everyone should have a refresher course every few years. I am sure there would be fewer accidents if we did. as I drive an adapted car I found the assessment very useful.Since doing the assessment I have been made more aware if the mistakes made by other drivers and I am very conscious that I do not make any myself.
I was treated with the up-most respect and kindness
I was really nervous when I arrived but started to relax and fell better after about ten minutes due to staff I saw on the day
The advice given to me by the assessors was invaluable in helping me to improve both my confidence and overall driving ability. Grateful thanks to to them.
A valuable course which was both enlightening and thought provoking. Thank You
I think every driver would benefit from attendance at this type of course, for example at every 5 to 7 year intervals.
How can I be more comfortable in my car?
Below is a great video from GEM Motoring assist giving advice about Driving in Comfort. Wessex DriveAbility feature in this video and show what help is available to help older drivers and their passengers enjoy a more comfortable experience on journeys. The video looks at how the process of ageing can affect our ability to get in and out of the car, or drive around safely and in comfort. They talk about ergonomics in the car to help you find a comfortable driving position