Most handicap drivers find that a steering wheel knob is the best aid in turning the wheel – especially when used in conjunction with hand controls and you only have one hand.
This page is going to concisely go over everything you need to know about different quick release steering wheel knob attachments – the law, benefits, drawbacks and where you can purchase them at a cheap price.
Use as a standalone steering wheel aid or in conjunction with driving controls
Steering knobs are one of many steering wheel aid attachments which are usually used by disabled drivers in conjunction with other disabled driving equipment. Generally steering knobs (or ‘spinner knobs’) are used by paraplegic people in conjunction with hand controls which control the pedals via the hands.
However there are plenty of circumstances when using one is useful, and paraplegics make up only a relatively small percentage of the total number of disabled people out there. People driving with hand controls have all sorts of problems – sometimes minor (such as one leg being slightly weaker than the other) or sometimes major (one leg completely immobile).
This type of device is so useful because it allows for the driver to be able to turn the steering wheel with just one hand much more smoothly and much quicker. Seeing as most drivers require hand controls one hand is usually completely preoccupied with controlling the gas and brake pedals. Some drivers are able to position everything in such a manner which allows their hand control hand to be close enough to the wheel to allow partial control, but never complete control.
Therefore these spinner knobs are perfect for allowing a driver with only one hand available to turn the wheel by leveraging the position of the knob and pivoting the wheel around its placement. It’s a much more preferable situation than the twisting one’s arm into uncomfortable positions or rapidly changing the hand’s spot on the wheel – which can be downright dangerous.
Steering wheel knobs aren’t dangerous or illegal (explained)
Some people think spinner knobs are dangerous, and some people think they’re illegal. There’s actually some truth in both of these statements but it’s certainly not the full picture. In the UK and USA they are indeed illegal unless you have an authorized reason for using them. Seeing as they’re disabled and they make driving safer then you’re allowed to use one.
Some people think they’re dangerous. Are guns dangerous or the people who use them? They’re not dangerous, and neither are spinners. Generally because they’re good at turning the car quickly they were generally used by drivers who obviously have a much greater chance of being in an accident. This gave it a really bad reputation… but just like a gun or any other piece of ‘potentially’ dangerous equipment it’s very much in the hands of the person who uses it.
Simply driving cars are statistically incredibly dangerous compared to let’s say walking. Driving your car while let’s say, on drugs and after having consumed a large quantity of alcohol is dangerous too… but let’s not confuse using a potentially dangerous device safely and using a potentially dangerous device stupidly.
Why the quick release function is so useful
The vast majority of spinners on the market have a quick-release mechanism which allows the device’s rapidly removal. What do I mean by ‘quick release’ you ask? By quick-release I mean a few important things. I mean that it can be removed in under 5 minutes (usually in a much shorter amount of time but let’s assume you have clumsy fingers). I mean that it doesn’t permanently scar or damage your vehicle. I finally mean that it doesn’t require any professionally trained or qualified person – permanently hand controls, for example, require a mechanic trained in installing that specific piece of equipment, that specific model.
It’s so useful because it allows for both disabled and able-bodied of one vehicle. When used in conjunction with other portable (portable is synonyms with quick-release in this case) driving equipment one car can switch from a handicap vehicle to a regular one in just a few minutes. This is perfect for those on a budget or even for those who only want to drive occasionally and don’t want to go through all the hassle of getting a new car.
Who makes steering wheel knobs and where can I buy then?
You can essentially buy them from two different sources. The first is to go to a disabled car shop and pay a significant amount from one of the extortionate disabled driving manufacturers. They can go for as much as 150 dollars. Or you can go to websites such as Amazon and buy them for around 10-20 dollars. These aren’t designed for disabled drivers but the concept is the exact same. The only difference is that one has been branded ‘safe for disabled use’… like there’s a difference in safety requirements for either (at least according to the Amended Americans with Disabilities Act).
Here’s a good online example:
Here are the manufacture’s products (you will need to find a physical shop selling these):
- Menox Steering Knobs – Menox has one of the widest ranges of spinner knobs available. The only downside is they’re quite expensive, but one massive strength is their level of customization which is absolutely unique. Expect complete integration with Menox steering knobs because the pattern, color, placement and theme are all changeable.
- GuidoSimplex Steering Wheel Knob – Considering that GuidoSimplex has an incredibly wide and innovative range of hand controls and other driving equipment their range of spinner knobs is surprisingly limited… to just one device. That said, you essentially just need a spherical ball attached to the wheel so perhaps it’s no surprise they didn’t waste time on frivolous design. Saying that, the GuidoSimplex steering wheel knob is leather and still looks pretty dapper.
- MPS Monarch Steering Knob – The situation here is similar to GS because although they have a wide array of steering wheel attachments they only have one knob. The Monarch Steering Knob is (like GS) simply a regular knob with a large price tag.
- MPS Steering Knob – I won’t dwell on this description because the device from Mobility Products and Design is almost identical to that of GS and MPS-Monarch. You can find out about the MPD Steering Knob here.
Which steering knob would I buy?
If I’m being honest I would go for the online option for a few reasons. Firstly it’s so much less of a hassle. Instead of needing to locate a shop and seeing if they sell what you want you can just buy it on Amazon. Secondly it’s vastly cheaper – easily 100 dollars cheaper in most cases. Finally… they’re just as good. I don’t mind paying top dollar for something which is better, but to pay significantly more for something which is exactly the same is pointless.