A car equipped with disabled driver controls makes many people leave their physical limitations behind. Disabled driver aids assist people bound to wheelchair in taking control of their cars and enjoy a drive just like everybody else do. There is a wide range of driving aids available in the market today to suit the needs of people with different disabilities.
Adaptive driving aids or disabled driver aids fall under diverse categories to suit the needs of all kinds of drivers: There are basic driving aids, advanced driving aids and ones which have reduced effort modifications.
The Basic driving aids focus on the able parts of the body and makes driving easy using the healthy body parts. It is meant for people with limited disability. Some of the basic aids are car hand controls like push and pull mechanics to operate accelerator and brake, steering controls used for people who have limited strength and grip, and extension controls for people who want marginal modification in their vehicles for a comfortable driving experience.
Types of Disabled Driver Aids for Enhanced Mobility
Some of the most common driving aids are discussed below:
Car Hand Controls:
Hand controls are useful for people with leg or foot disabilities. The controls that are manoeuvred by foot in a regular vehicle are controlled by hand with the use of levers and knobs in a modified vehicle.
Car hand controls have push/pull, push/twist and pull right angle mechanisms to control brake and accelerator of the vehicle. Other hand controls are attached to the steering to fasten grip and ability to steer with one hand. There are other hand controls like remote which can monitor the vehicle functions with a slight touch of the joystick.
Foot Controls are for those who have limited or no foot mobility. It is also used by people with a prosthetic limb as these controls can be manoeuvred with one leg. Left foot gas pedals offers extra control to the left leg and is best suited for people with disability in the right foot. Accelerator and brake guards are used to cover the accelerator and brake functions so that the driver does not inadvertently use it as foot rest.
Steering aids have variety of controls attached to the steering of the vehicle. It is either hand controlled or have balls or peg fitted onto the vehicle as a fixed or removable attachment. Some of these controls are electric trigger throttle, spinner knob, palm grip and tri pin steering grip that provides accessibility options like accelerator and brake.
Scooter and Wheelchair Hoist:
A scooter or a wheelchair hoist is used for transporting mobility devices and can be attached to the hatch or boot of the car to lift the devices in and out of cars/vans/SUV and some hatchbacks. There are many types of scooter hoists available for easy transport and accessibility. The power controlled ones use car battery for lifting the mobility device in and out of the vehicle, while the manual and less cheap hoists can be used for light weight devices.
Scooter hoists are removable and can be detached from the boot in case extra space is required in the vehicle. Available in a wide range of weight capacity from 40 kg to 200 kgs, scooter hoists also have the capacity of lifting a mobility device with driver seated.
Other Accessories: There are many other driving aids like push pull hand controls, smart steer pedal guards, easy release handbrakes, infra red hand controls, left foot accelerator, hinged accelerator pedal available for easy driving.
With the increase in demand and growing confidence among people in using the disabled driver aids or adapted vehicles, the car manufacturers are investing in newer technologies to come up with more versatile and comfortable driving aids. There are many renowned car companies who have moved into the motability car adaptation segment and are offering good discounts to beat the competition. It is a favorable time to make the best of the market by adapting your car within a reasonable budget.