Vehicle Adaptations for Upper Body Disabilities

Driving adaptations can make an enormous difference to disabled people, in some cases enabling those who may not otherwise have been able to have the ability to drive. Some disabled people may be concerned that due to their disability it may be difficult for them to drive a car. However, vehicle adaptations have made it possible for thousands of disabled people across the UK to continue driving, making it safe and manageable, whilst maintaining independence.

Not all vehicle adaptations are suited to every type of car, it is, therefore, important to consider the type of necessary adaptation(s) before purchasing a car. The best way to approach this is to have a test to find out exactly which system is suitable for the particular needs of the driver when considering vehicle adaptations. There are many independent assessment centres across the UK to help determine individual needs.

In many cases, the vehicle’s original controls can still be used with the adaptation in place, allowing other nominated drivers to use the car or vehicle at other times.

Driving aids and adaptations are suitable for those with both lower and upper body disabilities or weaknesses. The following adaptations may be helpful for those with upper body disabilities.

Steering Aids

These are designed to suit those with limited mobility in their upper body or in cases where operating other types of hand controls simply isn’t manageable. There are a number of different steering aids available on the market which range from steering knobs/balls, infra-red controls, lightened power steering, steering gloves and the steering tetra grip.

Hand Controls

Hand control systems are designed to enable those otherwise unable to use standard foot pedals for braking and accelerating, to do so via the use of hand controls. There are a variety of types of different hand controls, some of which are suitable for those suffering with upper body weakness. The traditional push pull hand control may prove too difficult for those with upper limb disorders, however, there is a range of digital hand controls which can help to take the strain off the user due to the fact that they have no contact with the mechanics of the car.

For individuals who cannot use their arms at all, to control the vehicle, there may be alternative systems designed to be operated using the feet.

Secondary Control Systems

For those with limited use of their upper bodies, operating secondary controls such as the indicators, wipers, horn etc. can be difficult, a secondary control system brings this altogether helping to enable the driver to not only steer the car but also operate multiple functions both effectively and safely. A secondary control system can be installed in the form of a touch screen or pad, a sort of remote control which can be located near the steering wheel – these are simple and easy to use, involving a light touch from any part of the body. Some systems can even be voice-activated, thus eliminating the need for any type of button or switch, allowing for operation using voice commands.

Although many newer cars are already fitted with a range of automated features such as automatic lights and wipers, push-button handbrakes and so forth, a secondary control system may still be necessary to assist those with limited use of their upper bodies.

Access – Electronic Person Hoist

Some wheelchair users may find getting in and out of the vehicle difficult, one solution to this problem is the electronic person hoist, which physically lifts individuals in and out of the car. One such type of equipment is the Milford Person hoist – this can be fitted to most types of vehicle including even the smallest car.

How All Shropshire Mobility Can Help – Custom Adaptations

We are a well-established vehicle adaptation company based in the Shropshire region – All Shropshire Mobility offer a wide range of adaptations including all of the above listed as well as other types, including electronic accelerators, left foot accelerators, pedal modifications, car boot hoist, rooftop stowage as well as custom-built modifications – allowing us to adapt most types of vehicle to suit your individual needs. Get in touch today for more information on our adaptations.