Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers

This page allows you to easily navigate and find out what Hand Controls are, their variation in price as well as the costs of car tax/disabled driver insurance and most importantly an on-going list of some of the oldest and most reputable Hand Control Manufacturers there are.  However bear in mind this page only provides general knowledge surrounding the topic.

The Best Portable Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers

 

Freedom Staff Hand Controls - Our most popular and highly recommended product.  The Freedom Staff handicap driving kit combines portability, functionality and price in the most efficient manner.  They’re one of the cheapest and yet most highly recommended portable hand controls.  I’ve never read any negative reviews of the Freedom Staff handicap driving hand controls and quite to the contrary the feedback has been immense.

Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers

Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers

Portable hand controls - If you don’t know much about handicap driving kits then you’ll be glad you read this page.  Utilizing portable driving controls has many benefits including home delivery, self-installation and removal, reliable and very affordable.  I generally recommend them for most disabled drivers because they simply get the job done.  Portable hand controls are a no frills way for driving.

Handicap hand controls - Specifically permanent hand controls which cannot be self-removed or installed.  These offers a useful alternative to portable versions and have their own advantages and drawbacks.  To start with they’re more expensive and you need to find a disabled car shop to install them.  On the other hand they allow for greater integration with your car which allows for very advanced hand controls which utilize hydraulically or electronically powered handicap hand controls.

Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers Explained.

 

If you’re unsure as to what exactly this piece of equipment is, I’ll give a brief explanation.  Most people with serious physical difficulties who must use wheelchairs or have impaired motor functions from the waist down cannot drive cars because the floor pedals must be operated by their feet.

Disabled Hand Controls are either permanent or temporary pieces of equipment which upon installation allow the foot pedals to be pushed by the hand controls which themselves are usually located close to the steering wheel.  Their location close to the steering wheel allows either rapid interaction or for both the steering wheel and the pedals to be operated in unison.

There are lots of different types of handicapped driving equipment you can purchase and the first thing you have to ask yourself is whether they’re economically viable.  Many families who have a disabled member find it tough to cope with rising costs of living as well as having someone who is unable to work due to their condition.

You have to remember that basic designs may not be suitable for your condition and much more expensive brands such as Menox may be required for safe driving.  This is combined with health care costs ranging from that of specialist equipment to health workers who can assist when are necessary.  Remember that a decent portion of costs aren’t just related to the Auto Hand Controls themselves but rather the peripheral costs which arise when undertaking a project such as this.

Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers Cost

 

The controls themselves vary in price from around 300-2200 dollars and vary based on their design, manufacturer, composition, portability, weight and inclusion of extra buttons/controls for secondary car functions.  However it’s necessary to involve other costs which are involved too, to get an accurate total figure.

Firstly there may or may not be vehicle tax if you’re using or purchasing a new vehicle.  This won’t apply to you if you have portable hand controls which you are planning to only attach and use when required onto a pre-existing car which is already taxed (or in some cases non-taxable).  Vehicle tax varies country to country as well as state/region to state/region.  For example in the United Kingdom you may very well be exempt from vehicle tax due to your disability living allowance, but in other countries it is unlikely that there will be such a generous welfare system that will grant you such allowances.

You also need to factor in the cost of insuring a disabled driver which as you would expect is generally more expensive than drivers in the same situation who are not disabled.  Insurance will vary based on your age, past accidents and so forth like other drivers; but where it differs is based on your condition, driving experience while disabled, and other factors where your ailment may increase your chances of an accident.

What’s important to understand is that there are very simple hand controls such as Drive Master which can cost around 250 dollars which are non-mechanical, bulky, aesthetically displeasing and with basic operating features.  Of course on the other end of the spectrum are hand controls ten times the price which are based on mechanical or even hydraulic components, lightweight and compact, blend into your car with the correct colors and materials and which include a variety of features allowing secondary and tertiary functions relating to your vehicle to be conducted with ease.

Notable Handicap Hand Control Companies and Manufacturers

 

Purchasing the correct equipment is not a matter to be taken lightly and there’s significant variation within the industry based on differences relating to the person as well as their vehicle.

As you will see below there are a lot of different types which don’t just serve a practical purpose but keep comfort in mind too.  Driving as a disabled person is considered more difficult and being able to drive for hours without numbness or serious discomfort is an issue for some drivers.  The last thing you want to do is rush into making a purchase decision only to receive the product and soon find out there were far superior alternatives which more appropriately fitted your situation.

The respective companies I’ve listed below are considered the frontrunners in terms of both industry experience and future advancements.  What’s more is that the majority don’t just have corporate infrastructures which are US-based, but industrial production facilities that are US-based too.  So the product you’re getting isn’t some cheaply constructed counterfeit/replica but rather a genuine, well-made product produced in the country of design and primarily for US citizens.

Please use the navigation menu below to find out what’s best for you.

Conclusion

 

Giving an accurate conclusion and telling people which is ‘best’ would be inaccurate for me because what’s best for one person clearly isn’t going to be best for another.  A person’s budget, their specific disability, their energy levels and the comfort level they want to achieve all play a significant part in choosing the right hand control for the right person.

If you have a lot of money to spend then I would suggest a Viegel or various Guidosimplex hand controls for disabled drivers.  These are great for people who want all the added features, comfort and extra safety but at a premium cost.

If you have a lower budget than there are many Monarch/MPS or Mobility Products Design (MPD) hand controls to suit what you’re looking for.  If you want the ease of use of some of the more expensive pieces of equipment but can’t afford them than there are lower cost mechanical linkage designs.

I think the most important thing is to realize there are a massive variety of different Handicap Hand Controls for Cars out there on the market to suit every budget and everyone’s needs.  The main problem I hear about is in actually finding what’s the perfect product, how to get it installed and find out the appropriate information.

One of the reasons I created this website was because I felt there was a significant disconnect between the websites of manufacturers which are hard to navigate and poorly constructed with little detailed product information.  When you’re spending a lot of money on a potentially life changing product there should be easy access to all the information you need to know, and as I find out about more products I’ll research them, review them and add them to this page so you and other people can successfully find what it is you’re looking for instead of wasting hours searching through Google.

16 Responses to “Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers”

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  1. Ginnie Anthony says:

    *The person who is interested is a male who has very little feeling in the bottom of his feet and has also lost the ability to walk without a walker.  He has very good eyesight and control of his upper body and hips. Mentally he is unimpaired. So he only needs hand controls for the gas and brake.  Would there be any medicare assistance for him in
    purchasing or installation of hand controls?  Also since he has no other impairment than his feet and lower legs, would there be a difference in his car insurance? 

    • Jonathan Bell says:

      Hi Ginnie – firstly with regards to the hand controls he requires I would recommend these portable hand controls which allows for stable hand usage of the gas and brake pedals. They’re generally seen as a better option – here’s why.

      Regarding your question on medicare I have to be fully honest when I say I’m not sure – it would depend on lots of things like your income and so forth. But I know a great resource which probably will offer help – see the SCI help forums and ask the users there.

      Regarding the car insurance this is somewhat of a grey area – the ADA does forbid discrimination purely because of disability but if that disability increases the chances of causing an accident then they may be justified in an increase in price. Statistically disabled drivers are actually less likely to cause accidents – it really depends on your insurance provider. I would ask them.

      I hope this helps!

      Sincerely,

      Jonny

  2. Glenn says:

    I have had push pull permanent hand controls installed in my car by Mobility Works. Everything was fine but now all of a sudden the pulling or tipping used to accelerate has become too stiff. In other words you have to pull pretty hard to get acceleration. Is there so type of screw that is too tight that can be loosened to make acceleration easier?

    • Jonathan Bell says:

      That sounds like a real problem, how long have you had these hand controls? It could be a lubrication problem. Either way depending on how serious the problem is you need the certified mechanic who installed it (or someone with experience installing this specific type of hand control model to take a look. I wouldn’t have thought it would be a screw but the age of the product plus how it was installed can both be factors.

      Let me know how things turn out.

      Sincerely,

      Jonny

  3. Linda says:

    I don’t know how to get started on getting hand controls. I have multiple sclerosis. I have great upper body strength but weakening legs. I feel I could benefit from hand controls for the brake and gas pedals. I don’t know where to begin. Can you give me any advice?

  4. Loran says:

    I could use some advice. I am a 32 year old fit female suffering from severe femoral neurapthy in my right leg (a complication from knee surgery 3 months ago). Basically my thigh muscle is paralyzed. My most recent nerve study indicates that I will not recover quad function any time soon- possibly never. I can walk with a brace on but since it is my right leg that is affected, driving has not been possible. Since I am realizing that this condition may be long term I am ready to look into hand controls for the car. I’ve also wondered if it would be possible to just drive using my left leg (is that legal?). What do you recommend for someone in this type of situation. How hard is it to learn ow to drive with hand controls? I have two small children- part of the reason why I need to be able to drive and a huge reason why I want to make sure it’s something I’m capable of doing safely. Also, how do I get more info on how being labeled a disabled driver will effect my particular insurance? I’d rather not call them directly and make them aware of the problem if I don’t have to.
    Thank you in advance for your response.

    • Jonathan Bell says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your femoral neuropathy, but actually the bright side is that driving with one leg is significantly easier than without any at all. Driving with one leg is legal in all states (at least no one has ever emailed me of any problems so far) and there are a few suggestions I would make.

      Firstly a left foot gas pedal would make driving with hand controls much easier for you. Since your right leg is affected you have two choices – either an acceleration-only hand control to operate with one hand, steer with the other hand, and use your leg leg to operate the brakes, or the much easier left foot gas pedal (which is a pedal transfer) which allows you to accelerate with your left leg instead of constantly requiring your hand and arm muscles which is much more tiring – especially over long periods of time. Again, I usually recommend LFGPs.

      When it comes to the hand controls I would suggest the Freedom Staff Kit for several different reasons which I do not have the time to go into (you can see its specific page). Its the most popular portable hand control product we refer (by far).

      It is not hard at all to learn to drive with hand controls. Your safety should not be impaired (actually from a statistical point of view disabled drivers are safer than their able bodied counterparts).

      With regards to your insurance I am not so sure. The Americans with Disabilities Act clearly protects you from discrimination however this is not always the case in practice and I would advise consultation from other experts. Let me know if you need any more help,

      J Bell

      • dotty says:

        i am a paraplegic and have been driving w/hand controls since 1980 – i did have to take a new driving test w/hand controls, but this has never been an issue with my insurance company – i pay the same rates as anyone else – state farm – good luck

  5. jane says:

    My husband has had both legs amputated below the knew in the past 7 months. He has one prosthesis and should be fitted for the other one in 6-8 weeks. I have no clue where to start as far as hand controls. Does the type of car make a difference? He currently owns a 2010 Kia Soul and loves it but if he needs a different car we would trade it in. I want him to be as independent as possible. Does he have to notify the state motor vehical department (WI) ? Any help to get me in the right direction would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Jonathan Bell says:

      Usually the type of car won’t make a difference but that does depend on the hand controls set. Generally one problem which can occur is that the car is too small or the driver is too large for comfortable driving. But usually in most cases there’s not a problem – unless you want to install a wheelchair ramp/lift or some other piece of equipment which is especially large, then you will need a truck or van.

      Yes I would contact your local DMV because the laws for equipment change on a state by state basis, but just remember the Americans with Disabilities Act does (theoretically) protect you from any discrimination.

      I generally recommend the Freedom Staff Kit (you can find a link to it in the comment above yours) because it’s great for new and experienced handicapped drivers alike. The Freedom Kit is a portable hand control and there are other great models to choose them, but I’ve had the most feedback from the Freedom Kit.

      It’s simply a case of buying it online, it gets delivered to you, install it onto your car via the instruction manual and then you’re ready to start driving (just remember to get some practicing in before you hit a highway). That’s it.

      Hope that helps,

      Jonny

  6. Doug says:

    My daughter is leaving for college son. She has to use a walker to get around due to her CP. She has good upper body strength. She’ll be using a full size Chevy at school. What do you recommend for her?

    • Jonathan Bell says:

      I recommend the Freedom Staff Handicap Hand Controls Kit, I’ve left a few comments below to a specific page on my website with some further information about it.

  7. Rita Sapienza says:

    I had hand controls in my past vehicle. I was told by a local place they will not re install them in my next vehicle, and I believe there is no other company around so I am at their mercy on waiting. I really wish your company was in Florida because I’d like to know what kind would work best for my situation.

    from Frustrated Floridian…

    Rita Sapienza

  8. David Roberts says:

    Had Guido installed by Better Life Mobility of Riverside after 24 years of MPS. The Guido were installed so that I’d have to sit sideways and can’t be used and as an added plus, they were rigged to floor the accelerator when the seat is raised—what a joke. Must be made by Guido Sarducci.

    • Jonathan Bell says:

      Either they’ve not been installed properly or they’ve been installed in a vehicle that couldn’t properly fit them. In any case I’d contact Better Life Mobility and demand appropriate changes are made. It’s obviously a serious safety hazard if you have to sit sideways to use them.

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