I really enjoy being able to write reviews and recommend good products, unfortunately I can only do this for good hand controls and Drive Master produces outdated equipment. Find out more below.
There’s only one main type of hand control and it’s the Ultra Lite XL Hand Control by Drive Master. Now right of the bat I want to say we’re dealing with a relatively small time manufacturer here and the product really reflects this. It’s very basic in design and it’s constructed in a way which most people would regard as ‘flimsy’ due to the thin cables and main structure. It doesn’t have mechanical linkage which means that it certainly takes a lot more effort to use than other controls. For some people this won’t be a problem but for others who want to enjoy the driving experience a little more than these certainly aren’t recommended.
When I say their design is ‘basic’ I’m really referring to below average for non-mechanical controls which have very little aside from the standard driving functions. I’m personally just not a fan of these types of disabled driving mechanisms. I believe it should be done in as safe an environment as possible, and it that means a little more money – or a little more time spent saving, then I see it as well worth it. Peace of mind driving is important and knowing you’ve got something which is much safer is critical to achieving this.
There are several criticisms I’ll point out and first is the loose hanging structure which impairs entering and exiting the vehicle. One problem which many disabled people have is that they’re hard pressed getting in and out because the Drive Master Hand Controls are spread out and hanging all over the place in the footrest area. This means that you’ll often have to wrestle them out of the way, or roughly pull the legs out. As you can imagine if you’ve just gotten home or to somewhere you want to go you don’t want to spend ten minutes just untangling your legs, so this is a real set back. This is exactly what I’m talking about when I refer to them as being ‘basic’, because they fulfill the simple requirements of what this type of disability equipment should be – but they don’t make the little things easier, and in the interest of keeping the price low they’ll sacrifice important albeit not necessarily critical aspects of the controls and their design.
Another annoyance is that they don’t have any buttons on the level to control secondary functions, nor is the lever particularly flexible in terms of handle and position. Operating the turning signals when you’re trying to accelerate/break using one hand, and turn with another hand is obviously difficult – and in some situations dangerous. By having buttons on the handle, manufacturers allow ease of use and peace of mind to ensue, however DM hand controls for cars do not have this luxury. Instead they require everything to be done in rapid succession – which for most people will be fine if a little annoying, but there will certainly be some people out there incapable of performing this type of rapid and strenuous activity.
Most of the manufacturers which produce this type of equipment allow a great deal in terms of flexibility when it comes to which sort of handle to use. Some people prefer vertical or horizontal handles, with or without padding, spherical or not – and most imaginable combinations. On the hand Driver Master Handicap Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers allow a lot less of this flexibility. They’re very much a basic non-adaptable design, and what you need to remember is that this is one of the reasons why they cost so little – usually around 200-300 dollars.
Overall I think that you’re onto a bit of a loser here, because although they’re around 100-250 dollars cheaper than designs by MPS/MPD which don’t have mechanical linkage, secondary function control buttons and more compact designs they’re still much better. They’re more adaptable in what handles you can have which certainly increases comfort. They’re not as ultra-compact as controls by Viegel or Menox, but they’re still definitely more out of the way than Drive Master Driving Controls for the Disabled.
In summary I would say that they’re the worst you can buy really, looking at a Drive Master Hand Controls Comparison against their rivals then really their only advantage are their lower prices. But you can pay just a little more and get your product from a far better and more distinguished company. This means that ultimately you can get more compact controls which allow easier entering and exiting of the vehicle. You can buy controls with mechanical linkage that are perhaps 200-300 dollars more expensive (not anything like Viegal/Menox charging 2000 dollars plus) and which give most of the benefits which the ‘best’ handicap hand controls do. Overall their cheap price just isn’t worth a product which is so inferior and can ultimately be improved so much more by paying slightly more.