Vehicle hand controls give people living with physical disabilities the ability to drive and operate a motor vehicle. Hand controls allow for the driver to manage both the brake and gas pedals using levers that are generally mounted below the steering wheel and attach to the pedals.
There are many different types of hand controls available, which is why it is important to speak to a mobility expert, often working hand-in-hand with a driver rehabilitation specialist, to find which ones will best suit your needs. Here is an introduction to help you get started in understanding hand control options.
When the driver pushes the handle forward, the brakes are applied. When the lever is rocked back, the vehicle accelerates. This model is ideal for individuals who have no finger dexterity as they operate the controls.
Push/Right Angle Style
Individuals who have limited finger dexterity can benefit from these types of hand controls. When the driver pushes the handle upward towards the instrument panel, the brakes are applied. When the control is pushed downwards at a right angle, the vehicle accelerates.
In this type of hand control, when the lever is pushed forward, the brakes engage. When the lever is pulled backwards, the vehicle accelerates. If needed, a three-post hand interface can be installed, providing the driver with the ability to maintain contact with the handle, ultimately providing greater control. Push/pull style hand controls are ideal for individuals with limited finger dexterity.
Electronically Assisted Hand Controls
With electronically assisted hand controls, the driver typically uses Joysticks and touchscreens to operate the vehicle. A primary set of controls manages the gas, brakes, and steering. A secondary set of driving controls operates other vehicle functions. This option is good for those who must use only one hand for driving, and who have limited strength and range of motion in both upper and lower extremities.
There’s much more to know, and this is just a beginning description of what to expect with the various types of hand controls. The individual’s needs and abilities will help to determine what style of hand controls will work best for them to safely operate the vehicle. Experienced mobility experts are standing by at Bussani Mobility to help drivers of all ability levels.