How to Drive your Car with no Legs via Hand Control Kits
Driving your car with no legs requires the use of hand controls which can either be installed permanently or can be purchased as portable kits. These hand control kits allow the driver to operate the car by pushing down on gas and brake pedals via the hand control’s rods. These are hand operated and there are many different types to choose from.
Generally when driving only one hand is used to operate the hand controls by usually pulling backwards to accelerate or pushing forwards to brake. This is just one example of the operation method and the numerous devices on offer have different assistive mobility technologies installed based on different conditions. By acceleration and braking with one hand and steering with the other you’re able to drive your car with no use of your legs. It is also possible to have one hand controlling your hand controls and the steering wheel at the same time (they’re very close to each other usually) and have one hand solely for the steering wheel. But of course you must pick certain models.
Portable hand controls are generally preferred over permanent hand controls for a number of reasons. They’re cheaper, easier to install and do not require permanent modifications to the vehicle. They can be purchased online and at the time of writing there should be a few examples on the right hand side of this page. I do not sell portable hand controls myself however popular websites like Amazon sell them fairly cheaply at around 250-300 dollars. Although there are numerous portable driving kits most of them are actually very similar so I tend to recommend the cheapest and most highly rated – the Freedom Staff kit.
Permanent hand controls are generally ‘second tier’ as it were because they’re much more expensive plus you need to find a local disabled vehicle dealership which actually installs them which is close to you. Generally they’re few and far between but they do tend to offer some advantages over their portable counterparts. They allow for greater possibilities when driving your vehicle with regards to extra assistive technology – for example the Menox hand control allows for secondary control function buttons to be installed onto the handle so you can control certain aspects of the car (with no legs of course!) such as turn signals – but the downside is that these cost around 2,000 dollars.
If I personally had to choose which to pick (I have since recovered from my spinal cord injury although I’ve never learnt to drive myself) I would probably choose the portable set. They’re cheap, and I’ll admit to having a modest income – and they’re removable which would be useful because it allows for you to share driving one car with your partner or family member. They’re very good for casual to moderate driving but if you are planning on driving hundreds of miles everyday it would be quite difficult using a portable set and perhaps a permanent kit might be worth looking into.
Other Important Equipment for Drivers who Cannot use their Legs
Purchasing hand controls is, of course, the most important piece of equipment for driving without your legs – but this isn’t the end of the story and there are a few other key pieces of equipment you need to be aware of if you cannot use your legs.
Steering Knobs – steering wheel knobs are probably the second most important piece of equipment and the majority of handicapped drivers require them when driving their car. Although they’re banned for non-disabled related driving they’re very much legal for disabled drivers who may only have one hand to turn the steering wheel. By using a steering knob (people generally prefer quick release versions) you can turn the wheel far easier with only one hand.
Pedal Guards – If you can’t use your legs then what’s to stop your legs engaging the pedals by accident, or worse getting stuck under the pedals? Nothing unless you install pedal guards. Some people use them, some people don’t – but I highly recommend them. They should be wide and broad enough to fully cover your pedals and stop any intrusion upon the hand control’s mechanisms and functions.
Other Information Regarding Handicapped Driving
Handicapped driving does not happen over night and there’s much more to it then simply installing some equipment and hoping for the best. Finding the equipment suited to your specific disability, having it installed correctly, learning about the law plus learning how to actually drive again are four important aspects of handicapped driving – but they’re not the only four and there’s plenty about this topic which must be properly learnt if safe driving is to occur. I suggest you peruse this disabled driving website at your leisure to learn absolutely everything you need to know plus engage in our forums which are a useful source of information.