Archive for mechanical hand controls

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.

Electronic hand controls: Everything you need to know

Satellite AcceleratorThere is a wide range of electronic hand controls available on the market. Most operate in a similar way to mechanical hand controls but they are much lighter to use. The majority of electronic accelerators are also used alongside a mechanical brake, however, electronic brake systems are also available.

Why choose electronic hand controls

Some drivers have limited strength in their upper body as well as in the lower body, which can make operating mechanical hand controls difficult. In these cases, electronic systems can provide a good solution, because very little pressure or upper body strength is required to operate them.

If you aren’t sure which hand controls you require, our team is here to talk through your options with you. If you have never used hand controls before, we may recommend a driving assessment with an accredited assessment centre.

Over-ring accelerators

electronic hand controlsThe over-ring accelerator is designed to sit neatly over the steering wheel, blending in with the vehicle’s interior. The ring is simply pressed downwards to accelerate. Because the system is electronic, very little pressure or upper body strength is required to operate the over ring, which makes it a great solution for drivers with limited mobility in the upper body.

The brake fitted with the over ring accelerator is usually a mechanical push lever system operated by the right hand. A safety feature ensures the accelerator automatically cuts out when braking is applied.

The over ring system allows the driver to operate the accelerator without removing the hands from the steering wheel, which means there is no need for a steering ball or an indicator switch on the brake lever. It also allows the driver to change the position of the hands whilst still operating the throttle, so there’s less chance of stiffening up after prolonged periods of driving.

Under-ring accelerators

Electronic hand controlsThe under-ring accelerator is designed to sit neatly under the steering wheel, blending in with the vehicle’s interior. The ring is simply pressed inwards (towards the steering wheel) to accelerate. Because the system is electronic, very little pressure or upper body strength is required to operate the under-ring, which makes it a great solution for drivers with limited mobility in the upper body.

The brake fitted with the under-ring accelerator is usually a mechanical push lever system operated by the right hand. A safety feature ensures the accelerator automatically cuts out when braking is applied.

The under-ring system allows the driver to operate the accelerator without removing the hands from the steering wheel, which means there is no need for a steering ball or an indicator switch on the brake lever. It also allows the driver to change the position of the hands whilst still operating the throttle, so there’s less chance of stiffening up after prolonged periods of driving.

The Ghost Accelerator

Electronic hand controlsThe Ghost Accelerator is the latest in electronic hand controls. It is designed to sit neatly under the steering wheel, blending in with the vehicle’s interior. The driver accelerates by performing a simple rotary movement with the ring (clockwise or anticlockwise). Because the system is electronic, very little pressure or upper body strength is required to operate the under ring, which makes it a great solution for drivers with limited mobility in the upper body.

The brake fitted with the Ghost accelerator is usually a mechanical push lever system operated by the right hand. A safety feature ensures the accelerator automatically cuts out when braking is applied.

The Ghost system allows the driver to operate the accelerator without removing the hands from the steering wheel, which means there is no need for a steering ball or an indicator switch on the brake lever. It also allows the driver to change the position of the hands whilst still operating the throttle, so there’s less chance of stiffening up after prolonged periods of driving.

Electronic radial hand controls

Electronic hand controlsRadial electronic hand controls operate in a similar way to push/pull hand controls. The brake and accelerator are controlled using a lever system that is operated by the right hand. The brake is controlled by pushing the lever away (towards the front of the car) and the accelerator is controlled by pushing the lever downwards (towards the floor of the vehicle). A safety feature ensures the accelerator automatically cuts out when braking is applied.

Because the system is electronic, very little pressure or upper body strength is required to operate it, which makes it a great solution for drivers with limited mobility in the upper body. Electronic radial hand controls are also a great solution for drivers who experience problems with gripping because the hand can simply be rested on the lever to operate the accelerator instead of needing to pull it towards the body, as is necessary with push/pull style controls.

Trigger hand controls

Electronic trigger controlsTrigger hand controls operate in a similar way to push/pull hand controls. The brake and accelerator are controlled using a lever and trigger system that is operated by the right hand. The brake is mechanical and is controlled by pushing the lever away (towards the front of the car) and the accelerator is electronic and controlled by using the index finger to pull a small trigger. A safety feature ensures the accelerator automatically cuts out when braking is applied.

Because the accelerator is electronic, very little pressure or upper body strength is required to operate the system, which makes it a great solution for drivers with limited mobility in the upper body.

Satellite accelerators

Electronic hand controlsThe satellite accelerator is operated by pressing down on a small plunger that is attached to a lead, allowing it to be held in one hand, in a variety of positions. This allows the driver to change the position of the hands whilst still operating the throttle, so there’s less chance of stiffening up after prolonged periods of driving. Because the system is electronic, very little pressure or upper body strength is required to operate the accelerator, which makes it a great solution for drivers with limited mobility in the upper body.

The brake fitted with the satellite accelerator is usually a mechanical push lever system operated by the right hand. A safety feature ensures the accelerator automatically cuts out when braking is applied.

Electronic pull accelerators

Electronic hand controlsThe electronic pull accelerator is a lever system that is operated with the right hand. The brake is mechanical and is controlled by pushing the lever away (towards the front of the car) and the accelerator is electronic and is controlled by pulling the lever inwards, towards the driver’s body. Because the accelerator is electronic, very little pressure or upper body strength is required to operate the system, which makes it a great solution for drivers with limited upper-body mobility. A safety feature ensures that the accelerator automatically cuts out when braking is applied.

The push/pull systems we fit are the very best on the market – and we always select the modern ‘discreet’ control systems wherever possible. With these systems, the metal rods are largely hidden, which is not only aesthetically far more pleasing than having them on show, but also makes entering and exiting the vehicle much easier without banging the knees.

Bespoke solutions tailored to your needs

At Ergomobility, 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.

Mechanical hand controls – Everything you need to know

As time marches on, the vehicle adaptation industry is continually developing better ways of helping disabled drivers. Arguably one of the oldest types of adaptations is hand controls. These allow disabled drivers to control the accelerator and brake pedals via a system of levers mounted below the steering wheel.

So what are the different types of hand controls?Push-pull hand controls

Push/pull hand controls

The standard push/pull controls are a very simple set of levers attached to the car’s accelerator and brake pedals and fitted to one side of the steering wheel. All a driver needs to do is pull towards themselves to go and push away from themselves to stop.

Radial hand or push/right angle controlsRadial hand controls

Radial or push/right angle hand controls provide an alternative solution for drivers who struggle to grip with their hands. Similar to push/pull controls, drivers will still control the brake by pushing a lever away from themselves. However, the accelerator is now operated at right angles to the brake by pushing the lever down towards the floor of the vehicle.

Because the lever can be pressed downwards using any part of the hand, no grip is required. These controls can also help to alleviate shoulder pain that can be experienced by some drivers following prolonged periods of driving with push/pull controls.

Floor-mounted push/pull hand controls Floor-mounted push-pull hand controls

For drivers who struggle to hold their arms up for long periods, there is the option of the floor-mounted push/pull hand controls. These are operated by pushing and pulling a lever attached to the floor on the left side of the driver.

Again, the brake is operated by pushing away while the accelerator is engaged by pulling inwards towards the driver. With the operating hand sitting much lower next to the driver’s thigh, there is less strain on the arm and shoulder. It can also make getting in and out of the vehicle easier due to the positioning of the controls compared to some other systems.

With all of these systems, the vehicle can still be driven using the pedals if desired as they are not affected and remain intact.

Why choose Ergomobility?

Ergomobility is an independent adaptations specialist, which means that we have no ties to any specific manufacturers. We only ever select our products based on quality and performance and always choose adaptations that are right for our customers. This is why we use ‘Discreet Hand Controls’ wherever possible because we understand the benefits that they offer to our customers.

What are discreet hand controls

With these systems, the metal rods are largely hidden, which is not only aesthetically far more pleasing than having them on show, but also makes entering and exiting the vehicle much easier without banging the knees.

There are various types of mechanical hand controls out there, so if you can’t find what you are looking for, contact us to discuss your requirements.

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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