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Thread: Driving with hand controls

  1. #1
    Distinguished Community Member Sunshine's Avatar
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    Oct 2006

    Default Driving with hand controls

    I cannot drive yet due to my feet and legs. Yet.
    Am toying with idea of a vehicle with hand controls.
    Wishing one could try them out before plunking down the zillion dollars.
    Thinking of retrofitting my car that carries my rollator, or going whole hog with a ramp that will accommodate a wheeelchair, roll itís n and out, since I cannot lift my wheelchair, only men seem to be able to do so....

    I know some use them.

    Any comments are so welcome :)

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    ((((((Sunshine)))))) ~

    While I can't offer you any advice about hand controls, I would recommend that you at least investigate wheelchair van options. Think long term. Think about your needs and what would be easiest and most beneficial to you in a vehicle.

    Make a list of accessible features you need in your vehicle. Then, compare the costs of retrofitting your current vehicle to purchasing a converted w/c van or mini van.

    I went from putting two adult wheelchairs in a 1980 Toyota Corolla, and my sons, of course, to a 1989 Chevy van with w/c lift and tie downs, which was a gift to us. By 1998, Jon and Michael had outgrown that Chevy van, and we bought a Dodge Ram with a raised roof. Tie downs and ramp for 2 chairs was $10k then.

    Check out used w/c vans too. We donated our Chevy to a wonderful lady, who we often encountered toodling around town in it. Our Dodge van is designated to go to our very dear friend, who was recently diagnosed with ALS. We have to find a small vehicle for us before we can donate it to our friend.

    As with anything mechanical, or medical, research on the internet to find as much as you can about accessible vehicles. There may be some available new or used in your vicinity for you to explore in person.

    It's overwhelming, I know. We did a lot of shopping before we bought our Dodge van and that was pre-internet. And I've scoured the internet for the right smaller vehicle for us many times. Being well informed helps us to make better decisions.

    Please let us know what you learn and discover.

    Love & Light,

    Mom to Jon, 49, and Michael, 32, who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003. Our Angel Jon received his wings April 2019. April 2020, Jim, the world's most wonderful Dad, joined them. Now, they all watch over me.

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  5. #3
    Distinguished Community Member Jeanie Z's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
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    :) I have no experience with hand controls. One of the members of the support group I ran used them and loved them.

    I have a 2000 Chrysler Town & Country ramp van. The driver's seat goes forward and back for ease of transferring to my scooter. The ramp goes out the rear passenger door and up using a remote. Leather seats make it easier to turn on the seat.

    My van has all the extras you can get too. Getting a used van with everything is better than a new one. I had a new one last year when a man hit my van. I hated it. The tie downs were impossible for me to use and I wound up pulling a seat belt and putting it around the scooter handle.

    The conversions run about $30,000.00 and the van about the same. I think hand controls run less than a thousand. My van only has 130,000 miles on it and I have had it for about eight years. A member of my group died and his wife let me have it for $5000.00. She had paid over sixty thousand for it new. A real blessing for me. Good luck with you finding a good fit for you. Jeanie :)

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  7. #4
    Distinguished Community Member
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    Oct 2006
    North Carolina


    Sunshine, I donít have any personal experience with hand controls, but I did have a friend in my live group who had them. She liked them and had no problems learning to drive with them. A rollator would then be an option or at least was for her.

    Another friend told me she had a lift for her scooter to fit on the back of her car. I donít know how she would keep the scooter from getting wet. She had one of the larger Buickís.

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