In the minds of many drivers who are disabled, driving is considered to be a gift. In reality, it can often be an expensive undertaking that requires a modified vehicle of some type with a price tag that might exceed $50,000. While it is true that some people requiring such accommodations may be able to drive with a fairly minimum investment of a few hundred dollars for a set of hand controls, the joy of being able to travel freely in one’s own vehicle — even if only as a passenger — can make that investment worthwhile, no matter what the cost. In order to find out why, we conducted an informal survey of a few individuals who shared what they considered to be their best day of driving, even if that drive extended beyond a day. Their responses varied, but a few common themes emerged.

Many people who become paralyzed as adults have previous driving experience and long to get back behind the wheel. Perhaps that is why NM columnist Allen Rucker, a para due to transverse myelitis from Southern California, feels that his first day of driving solo with hand controls — which was also the day that he passed his driving test — produced the best drive of his life.
Soon after being released from rehab, Rucker began the process of returning to the road by tak