If you’re a disabled driver then the chances are that you’re looked at mobile hand controls for your car before. There are a few things you need to look over and be sure of or you could easily find yourself hundreds of dollars down with something you didn’t want. Find out more below.
There are some definitive advantages to purchase portable driving controls, but ultimately some downsides too. I think the best thing to do would be for me to concisely go over the three main types of fittings to give you a good idea what’s best for you – and where to move on from here.
- Permanent fixtures. These must be installed by a mechanic or someone who really knows what they’re doing and has done it before in the past. The process involves minor but permanent structural changes to the car. You will find that the main two ‘best’ manufacturer of hand controls – Menox and Veigel – fall into this category
- Semi-Permanent fixtures. These contain two parts – the permanent fittings and the action points. The permanent installation is the same of the simply permanent fittings, apart from it connects to the action points, which are removable. The action points would be where you hands touch the device, and the action module is connected to the permanent fittings. The difference is that you can remove the action point without affecting the permanent installation areas. This means that if you have (for example) a GuidoSimplex acceleration wheel which sets over the steering wheel. You can actually remove it in just a few seconds, and then allow the car to be drive normally. You essentially disconnect the controls which affect the acceleration/braking and allow normal use.
- Portable or Mobile fittings. These handicap hand controls are designed for quick and easy installation by anyone. Now the disabled driver obviously can’t do this, but anyone who can locate the pedal on the cars shouldn’t have a problem. With a little practice they can be added or removed in just a few minutes. No mechanic is needed and no alternations need to be made to the car whatsoever.
There are certainly some advantages to using this type of transportable driving aid, but ultimately I think by the end of this article that most of you will be put off the idea.
They’re certainly much cheaper than fully/semi permanent installations and cost as little as 200-250 dollars brand new. What’s more is that you save money on the peripheral costs that you may not think about at first. To start with you don’t need to get another car for permanent fittings, which mean you don’t just save on the controls you save on the vehicle too. Furthermore you save on car insurance and disabled driver insurance as well as the natural depreciation of the vehicle, in value.
Ultimately however I don’t think mobile hand controls are a good idea from a long term perspective. Now there’s no doubt in my mind that they have some advantages, but these simply do not outweigh some of the downsides.
To start with you’ll find that they’re inferior on every level, not just aesthetically but performance wise. They stick out in your car, they’re not flexible in how they can be adapted to suit your needs, they don’t come with mechanical linkage and they’re certainly not as safe as fully installed models.
Ultimately hand controls for disabled drivers should be seen as a long term solution to a long term problem. Buying a more expensive set may cost you more money, but they’ll need to be replaced far less frequently. They’ll make driving easier and most importantly safer too – most people think that portable designs can solve their problems, but soon make the switch to more permanent solutions to a permanent problem.