When it comes to hand control manufacturers I very much enjoy reviewing Mobility Products and Design because you’ll find one of the largest, most comprehensive product ranges which cater to the needs of a wide variety of disability issues. Find out more below.
When it comes to MPD you’ll find a real mix of products and this allows the wide variation amongst disabled drivers to be able to find what’s right for them, their situation, their condition – them. They have their more basic hand controls which are your standard push/pull or push/rock which although a little outdated as a concept as still very much the average standard of driving controls. They also have their ‘advanced’ designs which feature various pads and wrist grips which really take things to the next level in terms of comfort and safety.
You’ll often find that Mobility Products and Design Hand Controls has a wide variety of products – but almost too many. It’s very easy to get lost in the sea of numbers and letters indicating the slightest of alterations.
You’ll find that you can split their products into four main sections. You have their standard products section which are the push/rock and push/pull I’ve mentioned above. Within this section there are around 8 different permutations each with slight adapted differences. These are very minor and relate to the handle and how it’s positioned.
I say minor, but picking the right handle for you is absolutely vital in making sure that you get something which is comfortable. The last thing you want to do is use a spherical handle knob for ten years only to find out a padded horizontal handle would have suited you much better.
Firstly their basic controls don’t have mechanical linkage and they’re the bottom rung in the MPD list of products. They don’t have the ability to control secondary car functions such as turn signals and are very much standard device.
Next you have their brake only hand controls. These are for those who can still use one of their legs to accelerate. The immediate advantage is of course that it’s far better to use two arms and a leg as opposed to just two arms – but there are some instances where I can’t say that this is a wise choice. If for example you have a degenerative disease and your leg is getting weaker and weaker it’s only a matter of time before you’re going to have to end up spending more money on getting something for complete lack of motor skills in both legs.
Thirdly you have their advanced hand controls which are a definite step up, but still not on par with their Veigel alliance or Menox. These are designed to make driving more comfortable for the driver and they’re not a massive improvement on the basic design apart from the comfort perspective. But don’t think for one second that comfort is important when you’re driving, and there are two difference designs. One is essentially a padded handle which you rest your hand and wrist on. It’s the same as basic controls but the difference is that instead of having to use energy keeping your wrist and hand suspended you can just let it sit on the pad.
The second version is similar apart from it has padded side guards which house in the wrist and hand meaning that even less effort is required.
One important topic I’ll mention quickly as MPD’s alliance with Veigel which is a German hand controls manufacturer. They make some of the best designs in the world and unlike Menox you get a far greater range to choose from.
These feature ergonomic handles, mechanical linkage so the effort you need to put in is next to nothing, secondary functions such as the windscreen wiper and turn signals all being controlled from the handle and much more. These are the best out there (along with Menox) both in terms of ability and aesthetics.