Archive for handcontrols

Three things for disabled drivers to look for in an EV

Chargine electric vehicles (EV)One of the most important aspects of adult independence is being able to get around by yourself. Whether you’re going to work, meeting a friend, or simply going to the shop to choose your own groceries, being able to drive can be an essential part of this. It’s especially important for those who live in rural areas, who may struggle to access public transportation, or for those with disabilities, who might find it difficult to use buses or trains.

But the purchase of any car is a big investment, let alone an electric vehicle (EV), which is often more expensive than a standard petrol vehicle. It’s important to make sure that whatever you purchase, it’s the right choice for you, rather than just the one that’s been recommended. Reviews are a great place to start, but you’ll need to consider what your specific requirements are going to be.

But what should people with disabilities be looking for when choosing an EV? We take a look at some of the key elements.

Electric vehicle charging

Ease of charging your EV

If you’re only doing relatively short journeys, then you should be able to simply charge your EV at home each night, rather than needing to look for charging stations whilst you’re out and about. This can make things a lot easier, but you should consider what type of charging point you’re going to need and where you’ll need to park in order to charge the car.

You should also look at the charging cable, and pick it up to check how heavy it is and how hard or easy it is to manoeuvre. Whilst an EV cable offers non-grip charging, which can be easier for people with joint pain or lack of hand mobility, they can be weighty to move around, so it’s worth trying out this process before you buy.

Electric vehicle chargingPossibility for adaptions

EVs can be a great choice for disabled drivers, as they offer a smooth ride and can be easily adapted to make driving easier for those with mobility issues. Additional controls such as hand controls, electronic accelerators, steering aids, and pedal modifications mean that people who may otherwise struggle to control traditional gears and levers can still have the freedom of driving.

There is a range of electronic accelerators available, meaning that you can further personalise your vehicle to your exact needs. This technology is placed on the steering wheel or behind it. When you’re looking at choosing an EV, if you think you might benefit from this technology, then why not come in for a free assessment and we’ll help you find what works best for your needs.

EV Range

It’s important to consider the length of the journeys that you’ll typically be doing in your EV. Whilst there will be some exceptions, if you’re primarily doing short journeys, then this will give you a wider range of cars to choose from. If you’re regularly doing long journeys, it may be worth comparing the ranges of different models. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find an accessible charging point, and you’d need to factor in pausing to charge, so it’s an important part of choosing the right car for you.

Travelling in an EV

 

Steering Aids: Everything you need to know

Steering balls

Steering you in the right direction

Steering aids are designed to allow full control of the steering wheel with only one hand, making driving and maneuvering far easier. They are most commonly fitted alongside other hand controls.

Steering balls

When using hand controls, one hand will almost always be on the grip of the controls, either accelerating or braking. The steering ball allows full and safe control of the steering wheel with the other hand. Most steering aids are designed to be quick-release and so can easily be removed from the steering wheel.

These aids are available in a variety of shapes, including: ‘ball’, ‘mushroom’ and ‘tulip’. Whatever your preference, there’s a steering ball for your needs.

Wireless keypad steering aidWireless keypad steering aids

Usually, when a driver requires a steering aid it means they have either limited mobility in their upper body, or their other arm is operating hand controls of some description.

For the arm that is not steering, it can be difficult to operate secondary controls (indicators, horn, headlights, wipers, washers, etc.)  in a safe, painless and efficient manner.

Wireless keypad steering aids can provide a solution to this problem. They feature a control panel that is attached to the steering device, which enables the same hand that is steering to operate the secondary controls.

The controls are available with different grips and a choice of 7, 10, 13 or 18 functions (indicators, horn, headlights, etc.).

Glove & peg steering aids

The steering glove works in the same way as the standard steering ball but is designed for people with a limited amount of grip in their steering hand.  The hand is strapped to the moving part, allowing the driver full turning of the steering wheel.

Steering glove

Tetra grip steering aids

The steering tetra grip works in the same way as the standard steering ball but is designed for drivers with limited grip in their steering hand.  The wrist is wedged in place by the two lower pegs and the hand then rests on the top peg.

Tetragrip Adaptacar

Bespoke steering aid solutions tailored to your needs

We pride ourselves on our ability to engineer bespoke solutions to resolve complex problems. If you’ve previously been told something can’t be done, please contact us to discuss your requirements so we can look at your options with you.

Adapted vehicles – what are they and how can they help?

The freedom being able to drive affords us allows us to experience the world in a variety of new and interesting ways. From a simple trip to the local grocery store to that much-anticipated vacation, driving gives us the ability to accomplish and enjoy so much more of what life has to offer.

Whilst driving with a disability may seem scary and intimidating, perhaps even impossible, it’s doesn’t have to be. With advancements in vehicle adaptations, more and more disabled can discover, or rediscover, the independence offered by adapted vehicles, either privately or through the Motability Scheme.

What adapted vehicles offer

Adapted vehicles solve a wide variety of challenges for those with disabilities. Car Adaptations can range from simple steering balls to full Drive From Wheelchair customisations, depending on the needs of our customers. After a thorough assessment, Ergomobility will be able to offer the best solution to meet your needs, helping you to confidently operate your vehicle and opening up a whole new world of exploration.

Here are just a few of the adaptations available:Under-ring accelerator

Hand Controls

Hand controls allow people with limited lower body movement to control the adapted vehicle’s accelerator and brake with the use of paddles, rings or levers around the steering wheel.

Left Foot Accelerator

Adapted vehicles with an automatic gearbox and left foot accelerator are perfect for people who have limited movement on the right side of their body, allowing them to use the pedals with a single foot.

Radio RemotesDriving Controls

Radio remotes are particularly useful for people who find it difficult or impossible to drive with two hands and allows access to other in-car controls via a keypad on the steering wheel. These include the radio, air conditioning, windscreen wipers etc.

Radio remotes can also come with a miniature steering function or stick steering which allows you to control the movement of the car within a much smaller area.

Wheelchair Hoists

While driving is the end goal, you first have to be able to enter and exit the vehicle and sit comfortably enough to drive. This is the realm of the wheelchair hoist, which will help to lift either a driver or passenger from their seat into the car.

Swivel Seats

Another accessibility adaptation is the swivel seat, which allows the driver or passenger to unlock the seating position and turn the seat to the side, making ingress and egress a much simpler task.

Drive From Wheelchair

Although one of the more complicated vehicle adaptations, wheelchair driving is also possible for several people. The ability to access the adapted vehicle’s full functionality from your wheelchair means that it will necessitate a larger vehicle with ramp access. However, the benefit is that you won’t need to transition to and from your wheelchair to go for a drive.

The Process

How difficult it will be to learn to drive with a disability is not an easy choice to make and the process can be difficult. Ergomobility is here to help you each step of the way and can provide information and recommendations for each step of the process.

Step one is to undertake an assessment to determine exactly what kind of adaptations you will need to safely operate your vehicle.

If you can find a driving instructor with a suitably adapted vehicle, you could start learning to drive a mobility car straight away. Alternatively, you will need to secure a car with the required changes first (which may take some months).

However, once you are proficient and have your licence, the freedom and independence your adapted vehicle will provide are priceless.

For more information about adapted vehicles, you can contact our friendly and knowledgeable team on 01444 882233 or info@ergomobility.co.uk. Alternatively, head on over to our contact page and fill out the enquiry form.

Electronic Hand Controls

Electronic hand controls on the Motability Scheme are almost always electronic accelerator with a standard mechanical brake. They are designed for people who have a need for hand controls to operate the brake and accelerator but who also may suffer from upper body weakness. (The purpose of making the controls electronic is that they are extremely light and easy to operate compared to the mechanical variety).

As well as being some of the most technically advanced adaptations you will encounter on the Motability Scheme, they also come in all shapes and sizes for different people’s disabilities:

You can have Over Ring, Under Ring, Trigger, Twist Grip, Satellite, Floor mounted, Standard Push, Radial, etc… Not to mention the 5 or 6 different manufacturers listed on the Motability Scheme.

When it comes to adaptations, I would recommend that, as a Motability Specialist, you make sure your customer has had advice from an accredited Adaptation Specialist and/or Driving Assessment Centre. Assessing a customer’s requirements can be very complicated and there is a risk that, otherwise, they may end up with something that is unsuitable, causing real inconvenience to the customers (and yourselves).

Motability are now insisting that any Adaptation Specialists working with the Motability Scheme are fully trained and accredited by the Adaptation Manufacturers directly. This means the list of approved fitters around the country is now much smaller and this ensures that only the most experienced are able to fit these controls on the scheme.

Electronic Hand Controls are a fantastic product and have made it possible for many disabled drivers to drive when they would have struggled to do so with mechanical systems. However, seeking professional advice is essential before ordering.

Please click here to see further product information on our website.

Ergomobility Sussex
Units 1 – 4, Crosspost Industrial Park,
Cowfold Road, Bolney,
West Sussex, RH17 5QU

Telephone: 01444 882233

Ergomobility Thames Valley
Tylorstown,
Caversham
Reading, RG4 7XW

Telephone: 0118 321 8193

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