Sunday, October 22, 2023

Uncle Ralph - Driving

As far as I know Ralph did not not have to re-take his driving test but he would have been required to inform the DVLA of his amputation and get the OK from his doctor.

As mentioned Ralph’s artificial arm had a cup attachment that would fit over a ball fixed to the steering wheel for driving so he did not require a specially adapted car. However as he didn’t bother with the arm he simply held the ball with his left hand and steered that way. He drove a manual so to change gear he steadied the wheel with his stump, changed gear and then swapped back. 

One of my more vivid memories was being in the car with him when he needed to change gear whilst negotiating a corner using the only stump to steer - can I open my eyes now? 

Ralph liked his beer at The Colton Arms in Barons Court. It was perhaps inevitable that he would eventually get done for drink driving. He was three times over the legal limit so the case had to go to court where the allocated solicitor saw the breathalyser report and, with grudging admiration, exclaimed “that is the highest level I have ever seen!”

I never was told the outcome of the court appearance but if it was a first offence and because of the high reading it could have been a lengthy ban. There could have been mitigating circumstances due to being amputee and needing his car for his livelihood. I do believe he learned his lesson. He still drank as much but didn’t combine it with driving. 

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