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Driving Aids for Disabled Drivers: An Overview

Driving symbolizes independence and freedom, a rite of passage for many. Yet, it’s a challenge requiring unique solutions for some. For disabled drivers, driving aids aren’t just accessories but essential tools enabling them to travel safely and comfortably. This blog explores the various driving aids available and how Southern Bus and Mobility can help you select the right equipment.

What is an Adaptive Driving Aid, and Why Are They Necessary?

Adaptive driving aids are specialized equipment designed for vehicles to accommodate drivers with disabilities. These aids range from simple modifications to complex systems allowing individuals to drive without standard controls. They’re necessary because they provide the means for many with disabilities to maintain their independence, contributing to their personal and professional lives.

The right kind of driving aid can make all the difference. From handicap driving accessories to comprehensive control systems, each aid serves a specific purpose tailored to individual needs. Whether it’s due to limited mobility, strength, or coordination, these aids ensure that driving is a safe and achievable goal for many.

Types of Driving Aids

There’s a wide array of driving aids available, each designed to address different needs. Let’s delve into the specifics of these aids and understand how they assist disabled drivers.

Steering Aids, Systems, & Devices

For those who find traditional steering challenging, steering wheel adaptations provide an effective solution. These adaptations include devices attached to the steering wheel, allowing for easier grip and control. They’re vital for drivers with limited arm or hand strength and offer the necessary assistance to steer safely.

Vehicle Hand Controls

Vehicle hand controls are a game-changer for drivers unable to use their feet for pedals. They allow the brake and accelerator to operate using only the hands. These controls come in various styles, such as push-pull devices, customized for primary or secondary driving functions. Southern Bus and Mobility offers a range of hand controls to suit different preferences and needs.

MPS Hand Controls

4220 Compact II

Foot Controls, Pedals, and Pedal Guards

Foot controls are for drivers who can use their feet but require additional support. This includes pedal extensions, which bring the pedal closer to the driver, and pedal guards, which prevent the accidental use of the wrong pedal. These aids ensure drivers have proper reach and control over the vehicle’s pedals.Lowered Floor Pedal Guard

Extension Controls

Extension controls, such as turn signal extenders and parking brake extensions, are simple yet vital aids. They bring essential controls within easy reach of the driver, minimizing strain and ensuring that drivers can operate all vehicle functions without difficulty.

Orthotic Driving Aids

Orthotic driving aids are custom-made devices that support the driver’s posture and positioning within the vehicle. They’re crucial for ensuring the driver can control the vehicle safely and use it with other driving aids.

How to Choose the Right Driving Aids

Choosing the right driving aids involves assessing one’s abilities and the type of vehicle used. Some critical factors to consider are closely related to your specific disability, such as considering the areas of the body most affected, your strength, range of motion, and which functions you need help with. Do you require driving aids for the typical hand or foot motions? Is your grip or upper body strength enough for a specific type of hand control, or do you need to be more selective? 

While some aids are helpful in driving, others are for passenger comfort or to help you lift heavy equipment into the vehicle. Companies such as Mobility Innovations offer a range of products, from driving aids to car accessibility adaptations and wheelchair and mobility scooter hoists. Other excellent providers of driving aids include Sure Grip hand controls, which offers column-mount controls, and MPS, which offers various hand controls, pedals and pedal guards, steering devices, and accessories.

When deciding, it’s vital to consult professionals who can provide expert advice and installation services. Southern Bus and Mobility, as an NMEDA QAP Certified dealer, ensures high-quality service and reliable installation of adaptive driving equipment.

Find the Driving Aids You Need at Southern Bus & Mobility

When finding a comfortable and accessible van, affordability and proper fit are key. Southern Bus & Mobility is committed to helping you find the right solution. With a wide range of adaptive driving equipment and expert guidance, we ensure your vehicle meets your unique needs. Contact us to learn more about our products and services, and visit our locations to see how we can assist you in your journey toward independent driving.

Remember, driving should be accessible to everyone, and with the right aids, it can be. Whether you want to convert a car with hand controls or seek comprehensive driving solutions, we’re here to help. For more information on NMEDA QAP certification and its meaning, check out NMEDA.

Driving aids for disabled drivers provide the necessary support and bring back the joy and freedom of driving. The road ahead is open to all with the right equipment and support.