Independent Living While Disabled (Driving, and Vehicle Modifications)

Living with a disability is hard and whether we can cope or are still struggling to make sense of what to do. We quickly learn we need help and not the kind that takes away your independence,but the kind that would help you keep it or at least help you maintain. With a lot of research, talks with doctors, the internet, and other people with disabilities you will find numerous accommodations to help us live productive lives.

DrivingCarsDirect or NHTSA gives you all the information needed when you want to learn to drive being disabled and all things required to adhere to a specific state. Also, to find out what your state requires check out your local DMV online.

Car Modifications:
Steering Devices

Steering Knobs – are employed for positive, one-hand control, adjustable to one’s ability.    Drivers with no grip or diminished wrist stability can use tri-pins, a three-pronged grip for the wheel.

steering cuff offers complete support and control for a driver with a totally disabled hand and wrist.

palm gripv-grip or quad fork is used with some quadriplegics for steering. It is placed at any position on the wheel according to the prescription and driver’s personal comfort.

An amputee ring accommodates drivers with a prosthetic hook on their steering arms. (The prosthesis should have soft surface pinchers.)

Modified-effort steering reduces strength needed to operate power steering or brakes for someone with low strength or endurance.

Floor-mounted steering is a floor steering wheel for foot control.

Other adaptive devices

raised roof or dropped floor makes room to accommodate a drive seated in a mobility device.

left-foot accelerator eliminates left leg cross-over.

pedal extender raises the height of the brake and accelerator, so the driver can control them with his/her hands, instead of feet.

push/pull lever works like a pedal extender, but can also control the horn, windshield wipers, turn signals, and other features. (Temporary or mounted hand-controls are not recommended by the Veterans Association.)

steering column extension moves the steering wheel closer to driver.

Joy-stick system another single-handed device to control a vehicle.

Left-handed gear selection is done with an electric gear changer.

Using a right-hand turn signal allows right hand operation without cross-over.

Remote switches, (including elbow switches) repositions or builds up the secondary controls (horn, wipers, and turn signals).

Tie-downs secure a wheelchair or scooter in place, so it won’t roll while car is moving; there are several types. To ease transferring from a wheelchair into a bucket seat, power seats can be employed. A power seat can be customized for balance, positioning and stability.

Many drivers use  transfer boards to transfer into and out of the car.

Modified vehicle SeatSeats can be customized for balance, positioning and stability.

wheelchair or scooter lift also can be installed for entering or exiting a vehicle. Some lifts are designed to lift the driver and mobility device together, while others only lift the mobility device for storage. They are narrow enough to fit into a trunk, along with the mobility device. Lifts may eliminate the need to have a van.

ramp may also accommodate, and they come in a variety of styles.

Automatic locks and window controls make life easier, most new vehicles have these features.

wheelchair carrier mounted on the roof or back of a vehicle is used for storage and doesn’t require a large vehicle.

quad key-holder or turner or turner can be a life-saver for drivers lacking fine motor control.

Car Modification Companies:
SureGrip
The Braun Corporation

 

Resources

“Infinitec – Vehicle Modifications.” Infinitec – Vehicle Modifications. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 June 2015.

 

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