Driving with Hand Controls: A Brief Overview

  • February 6, 2021
  • Blog

Guest Blogger – Nikkie Filson, Certified Mobility Consultant for the Mobility Supercenter

When individuals are faced with mobility challenges from a defining event such as a car accident or illness they are not sure if they can drive a vehicle again. Fortunately today there are several hand controls options.

Car, Hand Controls, Driving

Types of hand controls for cars

  • Push Right Angle – The brake is applied by pushing the operating handle directly towards the brake pedal. The accelerator is activated by moving the operating handle toward the driver’s seat, at a right angle to the brake movement. The brake and accelerator can be used separately or simultaneously.
  • Push Rock– This control enables the driver to apply the accelerator and brakes by hand.  When the upright handle is rocked rearward toward the user the accelerator is applied.
  • Push and Pull – This hand control design operates by pushing down toward the floor for brake and pulling back for acceleration. Usually a doctor will write a prescription stating the need for hand controls and recommend a driver trainer. The driver trainer will recommend the style of hand controls that will best fit the individual’s need. Below are steps that are usually taken for this process.

Car, Hand Controls, Driving

Steps to becoming a driver with hand controls.

  1. Start with your physician to diagnose your problem/need.  They will recommend either an occupational therapist (OT) or a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS).
  2. The OT or CDRS will evaluate your skills and determine which type of controls will work best for your needs.  They will also train you on the equipment they are recommending.
  3. Locate your local Mobility Dealer (Mobility Supercenter) to purchase the controls and have them installed on your vehicle.
  4. Go to the local DMV, take the driving test using the hand controls and get it noted on your license that you drive using this modification.  You must have this noted on your license to drive using hand controls.

These controls can be adapted to many types of vehicles. Many times putting controls on an existing vehicle is a good solution. This will allow the individual to learn on a vehicle they are used to driving. Hand controls can be adapted to almost any make and model.  Installing controls on an existing vehicle is very cost effective compared to buying a new conversion vehicle.