This page is going to go over the benefit of utilizing hand controls for cars, as well as what can achieved with the different types of devices and models. This is concise oversight into the different manufacturers, types, technologies and who they cater for as well as what they allow.
Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers are what allow disabled people the ability to drive around normally just like the rest of us. It’s hard to comprehend the lack of freedom that being unable to walk entails, but almost as bad is the inability to travel independently. Travelling solo in a wheel chair is difficult work, but is by no means impossible. But this type of movement is not intended for going long distances, and travelling any great length always requires support from others.
I’m going to start of doing the opposite of what may seem obvious, I’m going to talk about the most advanced devices which you may not have heard of – but you definitely will be impressed with what they can achieve.
Firstly, there’s the ‘Total Driving’ GuidoSimplex range which covers every single aspect of driving as a disabled person. This doesn’t mean just doing the actual driving with Auto Hand Controls, it means entering the vehicle and exiting independently. It’s the ability to drive and use your vehicle completely as you please.
As you can imagine this is incredibly expensive and specific modifications need to be made to the vehicle.
When it comes to the actual driving aspect of the Total Driving system, you have the options of electronic or even hydraulic devices. Electronic accelerators are especially easy to utilize because they allow you to accelerate whilst merely holding down a button. On the other hand hydraulically powered devices still require an input on a physical device which is larger than electronic devices. But the bonus is that this amount of effort is vastly reduced, but allows you a far greater degree of control over your vehicle.
Pressing down a button to accelerate is easy to do, but it limits the amount of control you have over the vehicle since you’re either on or off. On the other hand you’ll find that hydraulic brakes allow very easy braking whilst also requiring a small amount of effort – albeit slightly larger than pressing a button.
You’ll find that Handicap Hand Controls for Cars allow for incredibly advanced driving as you can see in the above paragraph. But in most cases these will cost easily 15,000 dollars plus and they aren’t a realistic option for most people.
On the other hand when you look at the more basic models it becomes apparent that although they aren’t anywhere near as advanced they still get the job done at a fraction of the price.
For the more basic devices MPS (or Monarch as it’s otherwise known) and Mobility Products and Design produce some great models. Admittedly they aren’t on par with some of their more costly competitors, I’m not talking about the Total Driving system by GuidoSimplex which I mentioned above; but manufacturers such as Menox and Veigel (although Veigel technically owns MPD as their American friendly front).
Aside from all the talk about the advanced Car Hand Controls for Disabled the reality is that in most cases they aren’t necessary at all.
The truth is that for the vast majority of paraplegics a set of 500 dollar hand controls will be more than sufficient. Being able to accelerate using a button is obviously a big advantage, but some would say that it takes the fun out of driving. What’s more is that these tend to be aimed at disabled people who also have other problems (usually significant ones) too. They’re certainly not the most common.
You may be interested in these Car Hand Controls articles:
How to install and buy portable disabled hand controls for cars
Cost of disabled hand controls for handicapped drivers