Are Hand Controls The Best Choice For Disabled Drivers?

Nowadays, someone’s disability doesn’t have to keep them from living a full and complete life. It used to be that disabled individuals were prevented from driving because they weren’t able to safely operate a vehicle as it was manufactured. Luckily, there are many options today to help someone with a disability to drive a car with modifications, including things like hand controls. So, are hand controls the best choice for disabled drivers? It depends on the disability, but they can be a huge help in many cases. Read on for all you need to know about hand controls.

What are some examples of vehicle control equipment?

There are many different types of equipment that can make a vehicle easier to operate for someone with a disability. These can include anything from a push-button ignition to a lowered steering wheel. Additional modifications such as a swivel driver’s seat can help a driver enter or exit a vehicle, while something as simple as a seatbelt extender can provide a more comfortable driving experience.

Dr Handicap - driving with hand controls
Image by Hannah Sutherland on Unsplash: Different types of hand controls for cars can be super helpful for disabled drivers.

Why are hand controls helpful?

Wondering “How do you drive with hand controls?” There are actually several different options that can help a driver more easily operate a car. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best hand controls for disabled drivers:


This allows the driver to apply both the accelerator and the brakes by hand. The upright handle is rocked toward the driver to apply the accelerator. It can be used for people who have no finger dexterity at all.

Push/right angle

This helps the driver to push the handle upward toward the instrument panel in order to brake and downward at a right angle to accelerate the vehicle. It can be used for people who have very limited finger dexterity.


By pushing the lever forward, the brake is applied and when pulled backward, the accelerator is applied. There’s also a three-post hand interface that allows the driver to maintain contact with the handle for greater control. It can also be used for people who have very limited finger dexterity.


Push or twist hand controls are great options if there’s limited space in the vehicle, either because of a small car or a larger driver. The lever only needs to be moved to apply the brake. Throttle control is possible by twisting the grip, as one does when operating a motorcycle. Individuals need to have full dexterity in their fingers to use this type of hand control.

Electronic-assisted hand controls

These types of controls allow the driver to manage the gas, brakes, and steering, while a secondary control is used to operate other vehicle functions. They basically look like joysticks like you’d use to play a video game, but they can be used for everything from steering to switching on the turn indicator. Drivers also need to have full dexterity of their fingers in order to operate electronic hand controls.

What disabilities are hand controls suited for?

Hand controls can be operated by people with a wide variety of disabilities, including everything from partial paralysis to decreased motor function from neurological disorders or arthritic conditions. Hand controls are also extremely helpful for people who have paralysis in their legs or feet or who have loss of limbs with their legs or feet.

Hand controls can be mounted on either the right or left side of the vehicle, depending on what the driver needs for their specific condition. However, these types of controls are not suited for individuals who have completely lost use of their arms or hands.

Dr Handicap - modified vehicle
Image by Oli Woodman on Unsplash: A variety of different cars can be modified with hand controls.

How much do hand controls cost?

Because there are different types of hand controls for cars, they do differ in price. Since they’re typically applied to vehicles that are automatic (versus manual or stick shift cars), they can range in price from $500 to $2,000. The final cost is also greatly dependent on the type of vehicle in question and the labor required to install the modifications.

There are also specific cars and vans that can be modified more easily because they’re built for disabled drivers, but these do tend to come with a pretty hefty price tag. It’s also important to note that any vehicle modifications could also result in an increase in car insurance premiums, since enhancements make the car more expensive to repair and/or to replace.

How easy are hand controls to have installed?

There are many businesses around the country that can install hand controls in vehicles. Some car dealerships can help with this too. A quick Google search will likely help a person locate local companies that can install them with no trouble.

Other businesses like car manufacturers or local car insurance companies may also be able to help provide information on where to go to get hand controls installed (especially if the controls themselves have been purchased online).

Hand controls can provide a lot of disabled drivers with the opportunity to get behind the wheel. Although they’re not suitable for every type of driver, they can be a great choice for many individuals to help them operate a vehicle independently.

Featured image by Ave Calvar on Unsplash

How Much Does It Cost To Equip A Car With Hand Controls?

Millions of Americans have some type of disability. Many of the most common disabilities make it difficult or impossible for a person to drive a vehicle with standard controls that require the use of both arms and legs. For disabled drivers who cannot use their legs or feet to operate a vehicle’s pedals, hand controls are an excellent option.

Vehicle hand controls come in several different types. What type of hand controls a person requires depends on the type of disability they have. Some hand controls are simple devices that make turning a steering wheel easier, such as a steering wheel extension or steering ball, while others are more high-tech electronic adaptions.

People have many questions about hand controls: What type of hand controls are available? Can all types of vehicle be fitted with hand controls? Do you need special training to drive a vehicle with hand controls? How much does it cost to equip a car with hand controls? Below we’ll answer these questions and more.

Dr Handicap - hand controls
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: Hand controls make it possible to drive without using your feet or legs.

What Are Hand Controls For Disabled Drivers?

Hand controls refer to any device that is fitted or installed in a vehicle that enables a driver to operate the vehicle entirely with their hands. Hand controls make it possible to drive a vehicle without having to use legs or feet.

Who Uses Hand Controls In A Vehicle?

Hand controls are usually used by disabled drivers who cannot use their feet or legs to operate a vehicle. This could be a person who has had one or both legs amputated, or someone who has a loss of mobility or power in their leg or foot that makes operating the pedals difficult.

What Types Of Vehicle Can Be Fitted With Hand Controls?

Any type of vehicle can be fitted with hand controls. Anything ranging from a large truck or SUV to a small sports car can be driven using hand controls. Even Harley Davidson motorcycles can be fitted with them!

What Types Of Hand Controls Are Available?

Hand controls enable a driver to operate the gas and brake pedals (and the clutch in manual vehicles) with their hands using levers or buttons on or near the steering wheel.

The most common types of hand controls are:

  • Push/pull accelerator/brake devices
  • Over-ring push accelerator
  • Ghost under-wheel accelerator
  • Brake levers
  • Trigger operated accelerator/brake devices
  • Stick-steer steering devices with secondary controls
  • Various remote control devices that mount on a steering wheel and operate vehicle controls
  • Floor-mount mechanical accelerator/brake levers
  • Steering wheel extension
  • Steering wheel-mounted steering ball

How Much Does It Cost To Put Hand Controls In A Car?

The cost of putting hand controls in a car varies a lot depending on what type of hand controls you choose. At the top end, digital accelerator rings can start at $12,000. Various push/pull devices cost between $1,000–$6,000. Steering wheel extensions and steering wheel mounted steering balls can cost as little as $50.

Does Medicare Pay For Automobile Hand Controls?

Medicare may cover the cost of automobile hand controls if they are deemed to be “durable medical equipment”. You may have your costs covered if hand controls are deemed medically necessary by your physician.

Dr Handicap - car controls
Image by lukpixaby on Pixabay: Hand controls can be fitted on any car.

Can You Qualify For A Disabled Parking Permit If You Use Hand Controls?

Any driver who needs to use hand controls because they have a disability that prevents them from being able to use their feet and legs to operate pedals will qualify for a disabled parking permit.

What Are The Qualifying Conditions For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit include two broad categories that almost always apply to people who cannot use their legs or feet to drive:

  • Any person who cannot walk 200 ft without needing to stop to rest
  • Any person who cannot walk without the aid of an assistive device such as a crutch, cane, prosthetic device, wheelchair, or another person

How Do I Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit?

The quickest and easiest way to apply for a disabled parking permit is to arrange an online consultation with a medical professional through Dr. Handicap. The examining medical professional will verify your disability and fill in the relevant sections of a disabled parking permit application form, which you can then submit to your local DMV.

Featured image by Skitterphoto on Pixabay

Can Hand Controls Be Fitted To A Manual Car?

Several impressive vehicle adaptations make it possible for people with physical disabilities and mobility issues to drive their own vehicle. Some of these adaptations are simple devices that change the dimensions of a vehicle by bringing foot pedals or the steering wheel closer. Other adaptations are high-tech electronic devices that would have been impossible to imagine only a handful of years ago.

Modern technology has made it easier than ever for people with disabilities to enjoy the freedom and independence that driving provides. New technologies are being developed every year, and vehicle adaptation options for disabled drivers are expanding all the time.

In the United States, most vehicles have automatic transmission. Most Americans believe that an automatic car is easier to drive. Today, even most newer model semi trucks, which traditionally tended to have manual gears, are fitted with automatic transmission. However, many older vehicles still have manual transmission, and a number of drivers still prefer the experience of driving a stick-shift vehicle.

Hand controls are the most common form of vehicle adaptation for disabled drivers. So what are the hand control options for manual vehicles? Can hand controls be fitted to a manual car? How much do hand controls for manual vehicles cost? How do you drive a manual hand drive car? Let’s investigate.

Dr Handicap - wheelchair
Image by stevepb on Pixabay: Hand controls are for people who do not have full use of their legs.

Who Are Hand Controls For?

Hand controls are usually used by people who, due to a physical disability, cannot use their legs and feet to operate the pedals in a vehicle.

What Are The Most Common Hand Control Adaptations?

The most common hand control adaptations are:

  • Push/pull hand controls
  • Electronic hand accelerators/brakes (trigger accelerator, over ring accelerator, under ring accelerator, ghost ring accelerator)
  • Remote control device mounted on the steering wheel that operates standard vehicle controls such as headlights, indicators, and wipers
  • Steering wheel extension
  • Steering ball mounted on the steering wheel

How Much Do Hand Controls Cost?

The cost of hand controls varies widely, depending on the type you need. Steering wheel extensions can cost as little as $50, while full electronic hand accelerator/brake systems can cost between $500 and $2000.

Does Using Hand Controls Require Special Training?

It is advisable to get special training when first using most forms of hand controls. For a new driver, or a newly disabled driver, it is best to take lessons with a driving instructor who specializes in disabled driving.

Most densely populated areas of the US have disabled driving schools. You should be able to find a driving school near you with specialist disabled driving instructors, or an independent instructor with expertise in training disabled drivers.

Can Hand Controls Be Fitted To A Manual Car?

Yes, hand controls can absolutely be fitted to a manual car. All of the most common types of hand controls mentioned above can be used on a manual vehicle. In addition, there are several adaptations that allow a disabled driver to operate a manual vehicle’s clutch with their hand.

What Is A Manual Transmission Hand Clutch Conversion?

A manual transmission hand clutch conversion enables a driver to operate the clutch on a manual vehicle with their hand. The two most common types are:

  • An infrared sensor on the gear lever that automatically depresses the clutch when the hand is placed on the gear lever
  • A “duck clutch”, which has a small lever fitted to the gear lever that enables hand control of the clutch
Dr Handicap - manual transmission
Image by RoonZ-nl on Pixabay: Most older vehicles have manual gear systems.

Who Qualifies For A Disabled Parking Permit?

Any person who does not have the ability to use their legs or feet to control a vehicle, and therefore needs to use hand controls, will qualify for a disabled parking permit.

In general, the qualifying conditions for a disabled parking permit are:

  • An inability to walk 200 ft without needing to stop to rest
  • An inability to walk without the aid of a crutch, cane, wheelchair, prosthetic device, or another person
  • A heart condition
  • Lung disease
  • Any condition that necessitates the use of a portable oxygen tank
  • Legal blindness
  • Any arthritic, orthopedic, or neurological condition that reduces mobility

What Types Of Disabled Permit Are Available?

The most common types of disabled parking permit available are:

  • Permanent disabled parking placard or license plate
  • Temporary disabled parking placard
  • Disabled Veterans license plate
  • Organizational disabled parking permit

How To Get A Disabled Parking Permit

The quickest way to get a disabled parking permit is to arrange an online telemedicine consultation with a licensed medical professional through Dr. Handicap. The medical professional will verify your disability and fill in the relevant sections of a disabled parking application form, which you can then submit to your local DMV. It is a quick and easy process.

Featured image by cocoparisienne on Pixabay