4 Car Conversion Tips For Disabled Drivers

Having a physical disability absolutely does not need to prevent you from enjoying the freedom and independence that driving your own vehicle allows. The ability to get around, go where you want when you want, and to live life on your own terms, is a right and not a luxury. And in 2021, disabled drivers have fewer limitations on their freedom than ever before!

A myriad of excellent vehicle modification options now exist for disabled drivers. The world of vehicle adaptations and modifications is rich in innovation. Modern technological progress has made it possible for a raft of extremely effective new disabled vehicle adaptations to come to market over the last decade.

There is a raft of options to choose from when adapting a vehicle for use by a disabled driver. Of course, everything depends on the specific needs and requirements of the driver. Choosing what vehicle adaptations are best for you can be exciting, but also daunting. Today we’ll discuss some helpful car conversion tips for disabled drivers.

Dr Handicap - hand controls
Image by Free-Photos on Pixabay: There are lots of options when it comes to converting a car for a disabled driver.

How Do You Make A Car Handicap Accessible?

How you go about making a car handicap accessible is dependent on what the requirements of the driver will be. There are a lot of different adaptations and modifications available for disabled drivers. It is important that you understand your own needs and that you are aware of all of the options available to you.

Some disabled drivers will need only very minimal modifications, such as installation of a steering wheel knob. Other drivers will need to install full hand controls or raise the ceiling or roof of their vehicle.

What Are Modified Cars For Disabled Drivers?

You can get a modified car for disabled drivers that is specially made in the factory for use by people with disabilities. Alternatively, you can modify your own vehicle by adding adaptations and modifications once the car has left the factory. Modifications can be added to older vehicles easily and effectively.

How Can I Make My Car Wheelchair-Accessible?

There are plenty of options for making your car wheelchair-accessible. The most popular adaptations for wheelchair users are:

  • Wheelchair lifts
  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Dropped floors
  • Raised ceilings
  • Seat modifications

How Do You Go About Converting A Car For A Disabled Driver?

Some disabled drivers like to buy a vehicle that has been specially manufactured for use by disabled people. However, most disabled drivers prefer to use their own vehicle and have conversions done by professionals or to do their conversions themselves. This is usually a cheaper option.

What Vehicle Conversions Are Available For Disabled Drivers?

The most common vehicle conversions for disabled drivers are:

  • Hand controls
  • Adaptive steering devices
  • Adaptive ignition controls
  • Automatic doors
  • Pedal or seat belt extenders
  • Left-foot accelerators
  • Seat modifications
  • Wheelchair lifts and ramps
  • Raised roof
  • Dropped floor
Dr Handicap - wheelchair
Image by stevepb on Pixabay: There are lots of options for making your car wheelchair-accessible.

Top Car Conversion Tips For Disabled Drivers

1. Keep An Open Mind

When planning to get a vehicle conversion, it helps to keep an open mind. Only a decade ago, the options in this space were much more limited than they are today. You may be surprised to discover how much amazing technology is now available that can make life much easier for disabled drivers.

2. Put Safety First

Always have safety at the front of your mind when deciding what adaptations to choose for your vehicle. Ultimately, the most important element of a car conversion is that it is enjoyable, easy, and safe to use.

3. Ask The Experts

Often the best people to ask when choosing car conversions as a disabled driver are disabled driving instructors or disabled driving schools. Professionals in the disabled driving space are experts and will be up to date on the newest technology, so avail of their expertise. They will be happy to advise.

4. Shop Around

Don’t just jump in and buy the first thing that gets you excited. There are big differences in price between different garages, dealerships, and manufacturers. Do your bank balance a favor and shop around when buying disabled driver adaptations for your vehicle.

How Do You Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit?

If you’re a disabled driver and don’t already have a disabled parking permit, now’s the time to get one. The best way to apply for a disabled parking permit is to arrange a telemedicine consultation with a licensed physician through the Dr. Handicap online clinic. Dr. Handicap will arrange a video chat with a licensed physician in your state who will examine you and verify your disability.

Once your suitability for a disabled parking permit has been confirmed, the physician will certify the forms needed for you to acquire access to your state’s handicap parking program. It is a quick and simple procedure.

Featured image by Dan Gold on Unsplash

What Are The Best Car Modifications For Drivers With Limited Hand And Arm Movement?

People who have limited use of their hands and arms have difficulties in many areas of life. But driving your own vehicle doesn’t have to be one of them, especially when vehicles can be modified to suit disabled drivers’ needs.

In the instance where someone cannot drive a car without modifications, there are several simple changes they can make to give them access to freedom and the open road.

Is it a law to drive with two hands?

When a person is first learning to drive, they’re usually told that both hands should be on the wheel at all times. Perhaps your instructor told you that your hands belong at 10 and 2, or 3 and 9. Where a person places their hands on the wheel will vary depending on who taught them to drive – but there is no actual law to back up these lessons.

When a person is operating a motor vehicle, it is safety and focus that benefits the most from having both hands on the wheel. How many hands are on the wheel, or the exact position they’re in, is not a legal issue, but rather one that’s designed to teach people how to handle a vehicle when they are first learning.

Dr Handicap - driving with one hand
Image by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash: Can you drive an automatic car with one arm?

Can you drive an automatic car with one arm?

Driving a car with one arm may be difficult, but it is not impossible. A manually driven vehicle does require the use of two arms, because the gearstick needs to be constantly moved. This type of vehicle cannot be operated by a person with only one arm.

A vehicle with automatic transmission is a different story. This is because there is no gearstick that needs to be moved while driving. A person with one arm can navigate the roads with ease using one hand. They may want to opt for a wheel spinner to use with their arm for better control and access to some controls.

Car modifications for amputees

There are several modifications that can be made to a personal vehicle if its driver has lost the use of one or more of their limbs. These modifications make driving accessible and safe. Many vehicles now come equipped with some of the features that would have been considered modifications in older model cars. Things such as power steering and power brakes can be found in most off-the-line vehicles, so these modifications won’t likely need to be added to a vehicle you’re purchasing.

A pedal extension can be a great tool for those with an amputated leg. It allows the driver to control the brakes with reduced effort and to sit comfortably while driving. A left-foot accelerator is another great tool for leg amputees, because it puts the accelerator pedal on both sides of the brake.

Extended arm indicators can help those with arm amputations by offering an extension to controls such as turn signals and windshield wipers. That way, the driver has easy access to all the controls they need while driving.

Swivel seats can also be a great help when getting in and out of the car for someone who uses a wheelchair. In vehicles that are high off the ground, a Turny orbit will be used as a swivel seat to have the same effect. Another great modification for those who use a wheelchair is a full or half-dropped lowered floor. This gives those with wheelchairs easy access to driving as well as storage of their chair while getting from point A to point B. A wheelchair ramp can also be installed in many vans to assist the driver getting in and out of the vehicle.

Dr Handicap - disabled signage
Image by Marianne Bos on Unsplash: What are the best modifications for drivers with limited hand and arm movement?

How much does it cost to convert a car to hand controls?

Hand controls help those without access to foot pedals to drive using only their hands. The cost to convert a car to hand controls can vary depending on the disability and the vehicle in question. Specific car models may also play a role in how much it will cost to modify the car with hand controls. The car in question must also have power brakes, power steering, and an automatic transmission in order to be modified with hand controls.

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $1600 to have your car equipped with hand controls. Considering the freedom it provides to those with amputations or no use of their legs, it’s an affordable modification that’s worth every penny.

Driving with limited hand or arm movement can be difficult to master, but with the right tools and modifications, it doesn’t have to be. These changes are generally inexpensive and well worth the cost to be able to drive freely. 

Featured image by Andy Art on Unsplash

Amputee Ring, Spinner Knob & Quad Fork: Everything You Need To Know About Adaptive Driving Aids

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

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