We featured some tips for accessible vehicle modifications. This article will discuss driving hand controls that can help make transportation more accessible for people with spinal cord injuries or other disabilities.

Driving Hand Controls for People with Disability

Types of driving hand controls

There are several different types of hand controls: push-pull, push-twist, push-rock, and push-right angle, as well as joystick controls.

  • Push-pull hand controls allow the driver to operate the accelerator and brake by pushing or pulling a lever rather than pressing down on a pedal. The hand controls are easy to use and require less hand strength than other types of hand controls.
  • Push-twist hand controls are a motorcycle-style hand control type. The controls allow us to push to brake and twist like a motorcycle throttle for acceleration.
  • Push-rock hand controls operate the accelerator and brake with a rocking motion, in which the driver pushes forward to accelerate and pulls back to the brake. These controls are also relatively simple to use and may be preferred by some drivers.
  • Push-right angle hand controls consist of two levers that extend from the steering wheel and operate the accelerator and brake. The control levers are adjustable to fit the driver’s individual needs.
  • Joystick hand controls are operatable using a joystick mounted on the wheelchair’s armrest. The controls are more versatile than push-pull or push-rock controls. Meanwhile, it can operate other vehicle features like turn signals and headlights. However, it takes more time to get used to and may require more hand strength.

Each hand control type has its advantages and disadvantages. So, it’s essential to discuss the pros and cons of different controls with experts, which helps us make an informed decision about which type of control would be the best for us.

Moreover, safety is of the utmost importance when using hand controls. So it’s essential to have proper training and assessment by professionals to ensure the individual is capable and safe to operate the vehicle with the hand controls.

The NDIS and driving hand controls

The NDIS can fund the modifications and driving support related to your disability to help you regularly use a car. As a result, we can add car modifications to the NDIS plan, and the funding can support purchasing demanded hand control devices for the modifications.

In addition, Total Ability is a registered NDIS provider focusing on high-quality and safe automotive driving aids and hand controls for drivers with disabilities. The provider will be pleased to provide support if you have any questions about these assistive devices.

Furthermore, our Peer Support team can provide you with free, non-clinical, practical advice and lived experience of physical disability. If you have questions about your NDIS plan and car modifications, our NDIS coordination team will always be happy to assist you.

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Funded by Australian Government Department of Social Services. For more information visit DSS.GOV.AU