Those with a spinal cord injury, disabilities, limited dexterity or range of motion and other conditions may need more than low-tech or reduced effort hand controls to operate primary and secondary driving controls on an accessible or handicapped vehicle.
Primary driving controls are input devices that control the gas/brake and steering functions. Secondary controls are all other electro-mechanical functions such as lights, wipers, shift, etc.
Controls in the advanced driving aid category are usually for individuals with very limited mobility and strength for driving.
If any condition prevents you from operating basic driving aids like gas pedal extenders, spinner knobs, etc., your occupational therapist or Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) may recommend advanced driving controls in the form of high-tech joysticks, voice-activated controls or display screens.
Here is a sampling of a few high-tech solutions:
- With a single touch on a screen, electronic displays can operate secondary controls—from starting the car to shifting the gears to turning the wheels to operating the a/c—and everything in between.
- Vehicle controls can be moved to a different location to fit your needs. If you have trouble reaching or grasping controls—like the steering wheel—electric steering allows the steering control to be located almost anywhere and can even be operated in the form of a miniature steering wheel or joystick.
- A Quad Control provides one location for all accessory controls and out-of-reach switches normally found on the dash.
- Voice activation can operate a multitude of functions within the vehicle by using a verbal-audible menu.
- Also check into features like keyless ignition, back-up cameras, parking sensors and blind spot warning systems.
It’s all whiz technology, so it’s vital that you have a certified mobility professional, like a QAP accredited NMEDA member, to ensure that the controls are installed properly for the type of vehicle and the person driving.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.