One of the benefits of having a Motability Scheme car is that full breakdown assistance and cover, provided by the RAC, is included in the lease at no additional cost. This is not something many customers ever have to use, but if something does happen to your vehicle it is a great comfort to know it’s there, as I discovered for myself last year.
On the 14th December I was driving from Norwich to London. I was only about a mile from my destination and when I went to indicate, I realised that nothing was happening. My indicator would not switch on. I drive an adapted vehicle and all my secondary controls are in my headrest which I use my head to control. However, the standard controls were still in working order, so I asked my personal assistant Libbie, who was with me, if she could use the stick indicator for me instead. She reached across but unfortunately this wouldn’t work either. I was now in a dilemma. Do I pull over and wait for roadside assistance or carry on to my destination? I decided that since the traffic was very slow moving, I would carry on.
As soon as I arrived in London, I called the RAC and explained my situation to them. They reassured me that they would send someone out to me that afternoon to see if my vehicle could be fixed. About an hour later the RAC turned up to look at my car. After a lot of fiddling it was decided that my car needed to go back to the convertors as it couldn’t be fixed on site. I then received a call from the Motability Scheme to find out what my requirements were with regards to a hire vehicle because of the adaptations that I have fitted to my car, and ideally I would have liked a vehicle I could drive myself. I gave them a list of my must-have adaptations and shortly afterwards they phoned back to say that unfortunately they didn’t have an available vehicle that I would be able to drive, but the alternative was that they would get me a hire car for Libbie to drive. Libbie had never driven in London before, let alone in a strange car in the dark, so she was a little apprehensive. However, I assured her that driving in London was just like driving anywhere else and we set off for Whitstable, for a Christmas party. Having a hire car was such a relief, it was very reassuring to know that I would be able to keep mobile whilst my car was in for repairs.
As a Motability Scheme customer I don’t have to pay the congestion charge, but in a hire car this is no longer the case. However, this had actually been paid before the replacement car was dropped off to me, so I didn’t have to worry about this either. It is important to note though that if your hire car is delivered to you directly into the congestion charge zone, the charge is automatically paid for the first day of hire. However, if you are remaining in the zone after the first day, you will need to register with TFL and/or pay the congestion charge daily.
As part of my journey home I had to cross the Dartford tunnel so I had to remember to pay for this – all the things I never usually have to think about driving a VED exempt vehicle!
The next morning I received a call from the RAC to say that my car would be collected the following day, due to a number of breakdowns at the side of the road, which of course was a priority. The day after my car had been collected by the RAC, I had a call from the convertors to say that they had fixed my car and that they would arrange for it to be returned to me, which it was.
The entire experience was pretty stress free and having RAC breakdown cover is very reassuring. Just knowing that someone would be there to fix my car and get me back on the road meant it was one less thing to worry about.
If your Motability car breaks down or won’t start, call RAC Motability Assist on 0800 73 111 73. The service aims to get someone out to you within 45 minutes. If you are unable to use a mobile phone, use emergency telephones on the motorway and make your free emergency call (UK – 0800 73 111 73, Republic of Ireland – 1800 535 005). The telephone helpline and roadside assistance is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. RAC Motability Assist staff are specially trained to deal with the concerns of disabled people.
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people and their families to access a brand new car or scooter, by exchanging their mobility allowance to lease the vehicle of their choice. Find out more: