Adaptive Methods of Accelerating and Braking
Depending on your level of mobility, vehicle controls that are typically operated with the right foot might be difficult to manage without the proper adaptive equipment. From hand controls to left-foot pedals and extension levers, the right mobility solutions for your needs can help transform the way you drive and keep you safe while behind the wheel.
Electric Parking Brake
This device offers complete control of the power brake through a toggle switch. It is available for cars, vans and trucks. This unit is usually prescribed for individuals who drive a van from their wheelchair.
There are four types of hand controls recommended for use in vehicles with power brakes and steering as they do not interfere with operation of the vehicle by able-bodied drivers. They are:
- Right Angle Push (also referred to as “universal” as it can be used for most disabilities)
Hand Clutch Control
The hand clutch is for vehicles with standard transmissions and is only recommended for persons able to drive with their right leg. As this device is operated using one hand, it cannot be used in conjunction with another hand control.
Left-Foot Accelerator Pedal
With this pedal, accelerator functions of the vehicle are converted to left foot use for those with limited or no use of the right foot.
Parking-Brake Extension Lever
This lever attaches to a foot-operated parking brake in order to adapt it to hand use. With the lever, the driver still needs a grip sufficient to operate the regular brake and lever.
These are used when a driver’s legs are not long enough to reach the gas and brake pedals. These extensions must be light enough not to depress the pedals unless activated and secure enough not to slip off while the car is being driven. They are often used together with a false floor in order to rest the heels while operating the vehicle.
Quad Hand Control
A quad hand control consists of an extra L-shaped attachment designed for quadriplegic drivers with little wrist or hand strength. It is used with a dimmer switch and horn button.
These consist of touch controls that provide reduced effort acceleration and/or braking control. Two levels of assistance are available:
- Low effort
- Zero Effort
- Emergency Back-up Systems (available to provide additional safety in case of control failure)
Pedal Block (for gas and brake)
This device guards against inadvertent engagement of gas or brake due to spasm.