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Primary control adaptations
There are some simple solutions to help you drive a car which do not require any adaptations, but just the right choice of a production model. For example, you can have automatic transmission which means that you only need one foot to drive. Another practical option is power steering, if your arms are weakened. Finally, a lot of new cars come with a height-adjustable steering wheel which means that you can find a more comfortable driving position.
• Any control adaptations you have done to your car will need to be adapted for you after a comprehensive evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses.
This can be done with a DriveTest system which is a computer based device that measures your reactions and strength so that a control systems can be adapted to your needs.
On this page we will just give you an idea of the adaptations available.
• For people who cannot operate foot controls there are push/pull hand controls which are fitted within reach of the steering wheel and allow the user to operate the accelerator and brakes with their hands.
These systems can be placed on either side of the wheel and tailored to the user’s exact requirements.
If you do not want an automatic transmission then you can have a gear stick which automatically engages the clutch when you change gear.
• A special steering wheel can replace the existing one and lessen the effort required to turn.
This system is called the Mountney steering wheel and it is slightly smaller in diameter than a normal wheel.
When it is installed, the power steering system will be adapted to suit the user’s strength.
• There is a range of digital hand controls which take the strain off the user as they have no contact with the mechanics of the car.
These can be levers to control either the accelerator and brake, or the steering.
You can also have a joystick to control these things either separately (one axis), or together (an x and y axis).
It is possible to install a digital steering wheel of small diameter (typically 6″) which needs minimal effort to control.
• There are whole systems available to replace the steering wheel and pedals.
Firstly, you can have a tiller installed in the place of the wheel.
The accelerator can then be a rotary hand control on the tiller handle or a push button.
The brake can be a push button or a push down on the tiller.
• If you can only control your biceps then you can use a linear slide system.
As its name implies the systems slides in a straight line to control either acceleration and braking or steering.
• If you cannot use your arms to control the car, there are systems designed to be operated by foot.
For steering you can either have a footplate which you fit your foot into and turn the car that way, or you can operate a joystick gripped between your toes.
You can then use your other foot to operate the traditional accelerator and brake pedals.
Secondary control adaptations
For all the secondary controls (indicators, headlights, windscreen wipers) there are various solutions which can easily be customised for each individual user.
• The hand controls can all be put together on a touch screen or a touch pad near to or on the steering wheel. They can even be voice activated.
• If you prefer, the most important secondary controls can be put as footswitches near other driving controls.
• To make using the parking brake easier, you can have an electric one to replace the mechanical one.
• Finally, a parking sensor can tell you how close you are to other vehicles or obstacles when you are parking.