Being able to drive gives you freedom and enables you to go where you want, when you want. Owning your own vehicle opens up the world and allows you to live on your own terms.

Having a disability certainly does not have to prevent you living a life of freedom. Those of us with limited mobility can still enjoy the independence and increased options that driving brings.

It’s true that having certain types of disability can make driving a vehicle with standard controls difficult or impossible. But thankfully, modern technology has come to the rescue to solve many of the problems of driving with a disability.

There are lots of different types of adaptive vehicles and vehicle modifications that can make driving with a disability easy. Adaptive driving equipment makes it possible for people with a wide range of physical disabilities to drive their own vehicle and enjoy the benefits of vehicle ownership.

Technology is always evolving, so people tend to have a lot of questions about adaptive driving and adaptive driving aids… What is an adaptive vehicle? What types of adaptive driving equipment are available? What are hand controls for cars? How does adaptive driving equipment installation work?

Read on for everything you need to know about adaptive driving aids.

Dr Handicap - adaptive vehicle
Image by freestocks-photos on Pixabay: Adaptive driving aids give their users increased freedom.

What Is An Adaptive Vehicle?

An adaptive vehicle is a vehicle that has been altered in some way to enable it to be driven by a person with a physical disability. Almost any type of vehicle can be adapted, but the most common types of adapted vehicles are cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, and scooters.

What Is Adaptive Driving Equipment?

Adaptive driving equipment comes in many different forms. Adaptive driving equipment is any piece of equipment added to a vehicle to make it drivable by a person with a physical disability.

How Does Adaptive Driving Equipment Installation Work?

Adaptive driving equipment installation works in three main ways. It can be installed while the vehicle is being built; added to an existing vehicle by a specialist mechanic; or, if it is a simpler piece of equipment, installed by the vehicle owner themselves.

What Are Adaptive Driving Aids?

Adaptive driving aids are pieces of equipment, gadgets, or vehicle modifications that make it easier for a person with limited mobility to operate a vehicle.

How Do Adaptive Driving Aids Help Disabled Drivers?

Adaptive driving aids help disabled drivers in numerous ways. The most common ways include:

  • Making the entire vehicle operable with hands only
  • Ensuring less force is required to operate the vehicle
  • Changing the dimensions of the vehicle to make it easier to operate

How Do You Get Adaptive Driving Aids?

You can purchase adaptive driving aids and have them installed in your vehicle, or you can buy vehicles with driving aids already installed.

How Much Do Adaptive Driving Aids Cost?

The cost of adaptive driving aids varies massively depending on what type you require. Digital accelerator rings often start at $12,000, and push/pull accelerator/brake devices cost between $1,000–$6,000, whereas amputee rings and spinner knobs can be as cheap as $100.

Does Medicare Pay For Adaptive Driving Aids?

Medicare will usually cover the cost of adaptive driving aids if they are deemed to be necessary “durable medical equipment”.

Dr Handicap - disabled drivers
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: Adaptive driving aids open up the world to disabled drivers.

What Are The Most Common Adaptive Driving Aids?

Amputee Ring

An amputee ring is a small steel ring that attaches to the steering wheel to enable an amputee to maneuver the wheel.

Spinner Knob

A spinner knob is a knob that attaches to the steering wheel to make it easier to turn the wheel. It also makes it possible to turn the wheel with one hand.

Quad Fork

A quad fork is a device that attaches to the steering wheel and makes it easier for a person with reduced hand strength, or somebody who can only use one hand, to control the steering wheel.

Hand Controls For Cars

Hand controls allow you to operate the gas, brake, and clutch pedals with your hands instead of your feet.

The most common hand controls are:

  • Steering wheel-mounted remote-control devices that operate vehicle controls
  • Push/pull accelerator/brake devices
  • Over-ring and ghost under-wheel accelerators
  • Brake levers
  • Trigger operated accelerator/brake devices
  • Stick-steer steering devices with secondary controls
  • Floor-mount mechanical accelerator/brake levers

How To Get A Disabled Parking Permit

If you drive an adaptive vehicle and you have not yet gotten a disabled parking permit, now is the time to take action. The disabled parking permit application process couldn’t be easier. The best way to get the ball rolling is to set up an online consultation with a medical professional through Dr. Handicap.

Featured image by Patrik Ferro on Unsplash