So firstly. Why is it that these ‘portable’ kits are so popular?
Firstly they’re far cheaper (generally they cost around 300 dollars which is at least half the price of permanent installations). Secondly they can be purchased online and delivered to your house. Thirdly anyone can install them, you don’t need to travel hundreds of miles to a disabled car shop or need any specific training. Most importantly the technology and design has improved dramatically in recent years making them a useful and viable option instead of a ‘cheap last resort’.
Here are some specifics about TNT’s Kit:
- No permanent modifications to the car are required – this allows your car to retain its value plus allows for interchangeable disabled and able bodied driving.
- The installation positioning and adjustable lengths allow installation is almost all cars, if your car is very very small (and yo are very very large) then you may encounter problems. For the vast majority of people this is not the case because the controls are positioned under the steering wheel and high up underneath.
- Installation is not just limited to cars but all vehicles which require pedal usage – large vehicles such as recreational SUVs or trucks are no problem.
It’s also incredibly cheaper. MPS or Monarch products cost 400-500 dollars and then there’s 200-350 dollars in installation costs. On the other hand you can purchase the TNT kit for under 300 dollars.
Aesthetically it’s one of the sexiest hand controls I’ve ever seen. Take a look at the picture below. It has a smooth silver steel finish which blends into the interior of most vehicles quite well.
A brief review of some other TNT features? Yes.
According to the manufacturers the installation and removal time is under three minutes. Now obviously this is going to vary for everyone but I’d say that in most cases you’ll probably need around 5-10 minutes. Sure, if you’re timing yourself or you’re in a massive hurry then you might be able to get it done. But it’s not the ‘disabled equipment changing Olympics’ (sorry for the obscure reference the Olympics just started in England!) so you’re not in a hurry.
- The smallest length it will fold down to is 18 inches but it can be extended to fit in vehicles of all sizes including large trucks. Although the distance is increase the TNT rods can compensate – especially if you position your chair closer to the steering wheel.
- For people like me who suffered temporary disability (I was unable to walk for three months but many people take years to recover) this is the perfect solution because it allows some freedom, without damaging the vehicle and without costing too much money themselves.
- These controls do not need anything else for you to operate them. You do not (for example) need a steering wheel knob (although for some people it might be a good idea) because the hand control’s handle is positioned close toe the steering wheel. This allows you to both operate the gas and breaks whilst driving your car. You don’t need any other products – you splash out 300 bucks, get it delivered to your door, read the instruction manual, install the device and then get driving! Simple.
Operation of TNT Hand Controls
The usage off this is with one hand and a ‘push pull’ mechanism. The positioning allows you to retain two hands on the wheel for maximum safety. These are no assisted via mechanical linkage, electronics or hydraulic equipment – it’s a manual product. You do not need much practice or experience with them to drive comfortably. Driving before is obviously important but if you could drive competently before then you will be able to start driving again with just an hour or two of practice to familiarize yourself.
If you have not driven a car or vehicle before then you will need to install them and learn to drive with them and take your test like everyone else. Just remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act protects you from any unfair discrimination. The main word there is ‘unfair’. If you can drive like everyone else then you will pass like everyone else. On the other hand if your disability impairs your ability to drive you may not be able to use this product. As long as you can pass your test like everyone else then discrimination will not occur. If it does then you should contact your local law authority for assistance or even a lawyer.
Perfect for Beginners and Experienced Drivers
A lot of people think that removable sets are not for serious drivers, but the reality is that they’re up and coming onto the stage of disabled driving. In the past the difference between permanently and non-permanently installed driving kits were huge. Some of the removable kits were down right dangerous. But times have changed considerably and their demand has increased.
Assuming that removable kits are just as good as the permanent models then there’s every reason to buy them. Firstly it cuts out the need for a trained mechanic to install them. This isn’t just any mechanic… they must have specific experience installing this type of equipment. Secondly it means you don’t have to travel far and wide to find someone who’s sell what you need, you can have it brought to your house at your bequest and convenience. Finally they allow one car to be shared by able bodied and handicapped people alike. This is perfect for households on a budget, plus it saves on taxes.
Portable Hand Controls General Information
I would recommend checking out my page on portable hand controls for disabled drivers because it provides a list of useful products plus reviews.
It outlines what’s special about the concept in general, provides an array of different products from different manufacturers and also shows what additional equipment may be required.
Most people tend to think that you just need one kit of portable hand control and that’s it. On the other hand this isn’t the case and there’s plenty of useful handicap car equipment which is important or useful. Pedal guards, steering wheel attachments and car function keypads are all useful tools to make your driving experience both safer and more comfortable.
Other Portable Hand Controls
Freedom Staff Hand Controls – What a great piece of kit. They’re cheaper than the TNT model at around 267 dollars on Amazon (although admittedly it’s just a small saving). They have great reviews. The kit itself arrives with several juicy extras which can be used in conjunction with the regular hand controls. Generally I recommend Freedom Staff’s kit above all else – but go with what feels right.
PHC 3 (iii) Hand Controls – these pages are in production! Hold on I’m working on it!
Peddle Master Hand Controls – these pages are in production! Hold on I’m working on it!
Z4 Hand Controls – these pages are in production! Hold on I’m working on it!
Alfred Bekker Hand Controls – these pages are in production! Hold on I’m working on it!
Choosing the Best Kit for You
So what do you pick? I hope I haven’t overwhelmed you with information, presenting a person with so many choices can make it very difficult for them to pick the right one.
As a young man who has decided to dedicate a large proportion of his time to studying about hand controls I generally recommend the Freedom Staffs product.
This is based on several things. Firstly I read a lot of reviews of a lot of different products, I’ve conducted my own researched, messaged people on Facebook and scoured through hundreds and hundreds of forums. This is the conclusion I’ve come to. Not everyone will agree with me and they won’t be for everyone but I feel they’ve found a good balance between quality and cost.
But what’s best for most people might not be best for you.
Trust me when I say there are a hell of a lot of different handicapped people out there with a plethora of different problems. I’ve been messaged by people who can’t use their hand or don’t even have a hand to use. There are some many different problems and variations on this problems plus other problems combined with their original problems which create different possibilities. Confusing, huh?
What about a man who can use his right hand but only partially use his left hand. But his left hand is only good for pushing and not for pulling because he has arthritis. His left leg works perfectly fine but his right leg doesn’t function whatsoever. Plus he has occasional black outs and has never driven a vehicle in his life. I seriously do get these kinds of messages a lot.
Find out your strengths and weaknesses, find out what you need and then find out what you’d like. Prioritize and if you’re on a budget then allocate your money towards providing the most benefit at the cheapest cost.
Other Resources on HHC.com
HHC is a massive community website and we have information on every aspect of disabled driving. I’m not just talking about the hand controls or even just the equipment – I really do mean everything.
From learning when to drive (if you need it) to finding out a good place for a permanent set of hand controls. There’s a hell of a lot of information on this website and if you want to stay up to date then I suggest you bookmark us or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
Also, if you found this article useful then please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks a lot for reading.