When it comes to buying hand controls you can either opt for portable or permanent fittings. Both have their upsides and you better believe both have their downsides too. Finding out which suits your lifestyle is critical or you could easily be left up stressed and held back. Find out more below.
One of the main advantages with portable hand controls is that they can be used in conjunction with another car driven by someone who isn’t handicapped. When the disabled driver wants to use the vehicle he just has to ask for them to be re-attached. This is a simple and quick process which requires almost no car knowledge. Most of these mobile designs which you can re-attach arrive with step by step installation instructions to make sure the brief procedure is carried out to a safe standard. But when all’s said and done they’re not just easy to put in, but also take of too – I would say they can be removed in easily under 10 minutes and much less with a little practice.
This has several key advantages with the first being that a lot of money is saved in the process through several knock on effects. The first and most obvious is that you only need one vehicle to begin with, which clearly saves plenty of money. The second is less obvious is that although the disabled driver needs insurance specific to his/her disability they would need that on the other car and it’s usually cheaper for two people to be insured on one car in this manner. The most unobvious is that portable hand controls are much cheaper than those which need to be installed by mechanics. These can cost from 400-2500 dollars so it’s not a matter to take lightly whereas you can get a portable set for around 250-300 dollars and potentially less if you’re willing to buy them second hand.
They do of course have some disadvantages as you would expect, the main problem with these hand controls is that they’re very basic and usually come without mechanical linkage. Mechanical linkage is a method of distributing the effort required to use the controls making them more manageable. Essentially the overall effect of having them reduces the input of effort needed to operate them. But if the controls are detachable you’ll find in almost all instances they do not come with this added capability because the components are too large and you’ll soon find them very much permanent.
Another clear downside is that they’re also basic with regards to only being able to operate the acceleration and brake pedals. Now fair enough that’s the primary job of this type of handicapped equipment – to simply be able to drive. But being able to control windscreen wipers or the turn signals on your car without having to rapidly switching between the controls, buttons and steering wheels is a big advantage for people who want a more relaxing and ultimately safer driving experience.
If you take a look at companies such as Menox/Viegel who produce far more advanced designs you’ll find that they have multiple buttons on the top of the handle which rests on the lever. This allows for the driver to keep one hand on the wheel and the other braking whilst signaling to turn. This is in stark contrast to someone who has to essentially be in three places at once and it makes things much easier.