New to Hand Controls?  Here’s What You Need to Know

All hand controls have one thing in common.  They define independence for thousands of people who want to drive.  If this is the first time you’ve considered purchasing them, you probably have many questions about the most helpful kind and the best type of mobility vehicle for your needs.

Types of Hand Controls

Hand controls allow drivers of cars, vans, or trucks to control the vehicle’s throttle and its brakes.  A typical arrangement includes controls on the steering wheel and a lever attached to the braking system.  These controls are available from retailers used to outfitting mobility vans and wheelchair accessible vans with other adaptive equipment such as lifts.  There are several types of hand controls:

  1. Right-sided
  2. Left-sided
  3. Mechanical
  4. Power-assisted or high-tech electronic

Ask the Right Experts

If you intend to buy a vehicle, it’s best to determine hand control requirements before purchasing a specific mobility van. Otherwise, you might be faced with having to remove some options inside the vehicle to make room for hand controls or other equipment.

How do you find the right type of vehicle?  Your search shouldn’t end with the recommendation of a car salesperson.  Conversions cost money, so it’s wise to get a list of adaptive vehicle modifiers or suppliers that do business near you.  Their staff can tell you whether a vehicle is a good choice for the hand controls you need.

There are several ways to determine the right hand controls.  One of the most helpful is use of an adaptive driving evaluator. You can usually find these evaluators through a local rehabilitation centre, the Ministry of Transportation, or the closest retailer that installs and maintains adaptive equipment.

Maintenance of hand controls is an important step in extending their usefulness.

Other Considerations

Many people who need hand controls view them as the difference between an active life and an isolated one.  They allow drivers to commute to work and shuttle children to school and extracurricular activities.

Hand controls do have some limitations, however.  They can be a pain in rush hour stop-and-go traffic.  Also, drivers must simply drive.  You can’t adjust the temperature in your vehicle, take a sip of a drink, or pick a different radio station while you drive since both hands are already occupied with the hand controls.

If you have any questions, contact the experts at Goldline Mobility in London, Ontario and we would be happy to help you! We’ve installed hand controls in many different types of vans and can help guide you in making the best choice for your needs.