Mobility Hand Controls for
Vehicles and Power Chairs

Advancements in mobility hand controls enable people to benefit from the independence and pleasure of going places on their own. Customized and ergonomic mobility hand controls are available on all types of accessible vehicles and electric powered wheelchairs.

Vehicle Hand Controls

Hand controls in vehicles allow you to steer and brake with ease, while driving safely with your eyes on the road. In addition, controls provide for operation of headlights, horns, interior lighting, dimmers and other features of your car or van.

Knob and foam grips are interchangeable, depending on your preference. Look for controls that can be specifically adapted to your vehicle. And if necessary, look for controls that are flexible enough to be used by an ambulatory person.

Some standard and customized controls are easily installed. Other equipment, such as digital systems, requires extensive vehicle modification.

Drivers using vehicle hand controls typically attend training classes or have one-on-one instruction to ensure safe and proper equipment use. Users generally need to pass a training test before operating a vehicle.

The Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADRS - www.driver-ed.org) provides information on adaptive vehicles and training locations.

Wheelchair Controls

The type of controls found on power wheelchairs can be categorized into integrated or modular controllers. Integrated controllers have the following features:

  • They typically come as standard equipment on less expensive mobility chairs.
  • They are designed for the user whose requirements are not likely to change over a long period of time.

If the disability does not allow for the use of hand controls, or if the status of the user changes, electric wheelchairs with modular controllers are the way to go.

They offer a wider array of options that can be customized to the user’s needs. They feature everything from puff and sip controls to powered seating systems, environmental controls, and communication devices.

Training on the proper use of hand controls – and safe driving techniques – is important before operating a power chair.


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Published by Jules Sowder

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