Learning Centre

Understanding Manual Hand Controls


Driving is an essential part of life, and everyone should be able to enjoy the freedom of hitting the open road. However, for people with disabilities, driving can be a challenge. That’s where hand controls come in. They allow people with limited mobility in their legs to drive a vehicle safely and comfortably.

Manual hand controls come in two actions: the push/pat and the push/pull. The push/pat action involves pushing forward on the control lever to brake and dropping the lever to accelerate. On the other hand, the push/pull action is to push to brake and pull back to accelerate.

It’s important to note that the push/pat action is often prescribed by occupational therapists (OTs) due to the reduced effort required for the acceleration action. Dropping the control lever requires less strain on the shoulders than pulling it back. This makes the push/pat action a more suitable option for people with limited upper body strength.

Moreover, multi-function controls can be included on the control lever to operate the lights, indicators, and horn without releasing the hand grip. This makes it easier for the driver to focus on the road and operate the vehicle safely.

However, with the introduction of the knee airbag into modern vehicles, there are limitations to the applications of manual hand controls. Queensland Transport will not permit the relaxation of any safety features fitted to a vehicle. This requires an electronic hand control that will be covered in a later article.

In conclusion, manual hand controls are a great way to provide independence and mobility to people with disabilities. Understanding the two actions and consulting with an OT can help determine the best option for each individual’s needs. With the right equipment, everyone can enjoy the freedom of driving.

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