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Driving With Hand Controls




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23 replies to this topic

#1 Kelsey

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 12:44 PM

Hello

I have finally had my car fitted with hand controls. The guy fitted them yesterday afternoon, and I was told by the company that he would give me a few lessons and offer any advice. Not the case. :ranting: He said he had to get going to avoid Friday rush hour traffic. I asked him he could spare a few minutes to go around the block with me and he said no.

Hubby took the pedal guard off the car last night and he drove the car to an industrial estate. He refitted the pedal guard. I cautiously got in and couldn't believe I was back behind the wheel again. It has been 9 months since I have driven. Felt quite emotional. :blush:

My question is, how long did it take everybody else to get used to hand controls. I think the hardest part is using the steering wheel knob. Even though the car has power steering, I find it really hard to turn. Also, I have to remember it is 'push' to brake and 'pull' to accelarate. I was thinking of popping a little sticker on my dashboard to remind me, but I think if I had a passenger and they saw it, they would be out of the car like grease lightning. :girl_devil:

Access to work have paid towards the adaptations and whilst waiting for the quotes to come through, they helped me with taxi costs. Now that the car is done, the taxis have stopped and I have to drive to work on Monday morning. :ohmy:

I think I have lost more confidence than I first thought. :dunno:

#2 greybeard

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 12:56 PM

Hello

I have finally had my car fitted with hand controls. The guy fitted them yesterday afternoon, and I was told by the company that he would give me a few lessons and offer any advice. Not the case. :ranting: He said he had to get going to avoid Friday rush hour traffic. I asked him he could spare a few minutes to go around the block with me and he said no.

Hubby took the pedal guard off the car last night and he drove the car to an industrial estate. He refitted the pedal guard. I cautiously got in and couldn't believe I was back behind the wheel again. It has been 9 months since I have driven. Felt quite emotional. :blush:

My question is, how long did it take everybody else to get used to hand controls. I think the hardest part is using the steering wheel knob. Even though the car has power steering, I find it really hard to turn. Also, I have to remember it is 'push' to brake and 'pull' to accelarate. I was thinking of popping a little sticker on my dashboard to remind me, but I think if I had a passenger and they saw it, they would be out of the car like grease lightning. :girl_devil:

Access to work have paid towards the adaptations and whilst waiting for the quotes to come through, they helped me with taxi costs. Now that the car is done, the taxis have stopped and I have to drive to work on Monday morning. :ohmy:

I think I have lost more confidence than I first thought. :dunno:


Stop worrying.

Driving is just like riding a bike. Once youīve done it, you remember how for ever. Itīs just a matter of retraining your muscle memory to do things a little differently. Give it a week and youīll think it the most natural thing in the world. It just takes a lot of concentration for the first few days, so donīt have any distractions in the car until you are comfortable.

Just take it slow and easy to start with and donīt allow yourself to be flustered by other drivers who may think you are a Louis Hamilton clone. :) Good luck.

"Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day;  Rage, rage against the dying of the light" 

[Dylan Thomas]


#3 McTavish

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 03:33 PM

Hi Kelsey, I found the knob on the wheel impossible and decided it definately was not for me.I,m glad that I did as once it was removed there was no stopping me. You will get your confidence back so don,t be tough on yourself as it is a major change to only have one hand on the wheel. In a couple of weeks you will be wondering what all the worry was for. Take care and keep us posted on how you are doing. :H2kOther (26): :H2kOther (26):

#4 xxm

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 04:01 PM

Hi Kelsey,


One of many disadvantages of all available hand controls is that the accelerator can't be fixed freeing both your hands for the steering wheel. As I know only Menox has accelerator that can can be fixed. More than 25 years ago I designed my own controls. The accelerator stays at the position you put it. Believe me it's a real pleasure to drive like an AB with both your hands on the wheel. Now I'm redesigning it for my new car. I hope to make a video when it is ready.


I'm sure you will soon get used to your new hand controls but if you really have difficulties you may consider changing it.


Happy and safe driving !
Rudy
Nobody's Pain Can Be Shared.

#5 Kelsey

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 07:47 PM

Thank you so much for your kind words.

I managed to get my son in the car this afternoon as he had agreed to come out with me. Our driveway is on a slope down and the car sort of bunny hopped down to the road. :drive:

Anyway, that was really the only mishap. I negotiated corners, road humps and slip roads on to the bypasses. :specool:

Tomorrow I will mostly be driving around and around. I am also going to do a test run to my office in readiness for Monday morning.

I think I am going to be fine. The only thing I do find uncomfortable is having to hold my left arm up so that I can hold the steering wheel knob.

I'll update again tomorrow evening. :)

#6 Ironside

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 08:51 PM

Just take it easy and ignore anyone behind you, you know what people are like? They try and bully people into going faster if they are going slower than they like.

#7 Edinburgh Colin

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 09:26 PM

Hi Kelsey,


One of many disadvantages of all available hand controls is that the accelerator can't be fixed freeing both your hands for the steering wheel. As I know only Menox has accelerator that can can be fixed. More than 25 years ago I designed my own controls. The accelerator stays at the position you put it. Believe me it's a real pleasure to drive like an AB with both your hands on the wheel. Now I'm redesigning it for my new car. I hope to make a video when it is ready.


I'm sure you will soon get used to your new hand controls but if you really have difficulties you may consider changing it.


Happy and safe driving !
Rudy


Hi Rudy, sometimes optional extra called cruise control - speed up, slow down or steady speed with a couple of buttons.
Cheers
EC
Impossible only describes a problem that needs viewed from a different perspective

#8 Edinburgh Colin

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 09:32 PM

Hi Kelsey,
The thing I found I had to adjust to was the momentum of my body when braking! I have a high injury so little core, hit the brakes and my body carries on a bit putting more pressure on the push lever and thus really 'hitting the brakes'. A few days and I learned I needed to brace myself on the steering wheel with my left hand. Never realized how those core muscles held me back in the old days !!
EC
Impossible only describes a problem that needs viewed from a different perspective

#9 Kelsey

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 06:55 PM

Hi everyone

I have spent the day driving and I think something clicked and I have got it. :th_driving1:

Quietly confident that I will be ok driving to work tomorrow. :yahoo:

Thanks for everyone's support. :D

#10 greybeard

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 09:08 PM

Hi everyone

I have spent the day driving and I think something clicked and I have got it. :th_driving1:

Quietly confident that I will be ok driving to work tomorrow. :yahoo:

Thanks for everyone's support. :D


Great stuff. So - what was all the fuss about??????????? :D

"Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day;  Rage, rage against the dying of the light" 

[Dylan Thomas]


#11 Kelsey

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 05:38 PM


Hi everyone

I have spent the day driving and I think something clicked and I have got it. :th_driving1:

Quietly confident that I will be ok driving to work tomorrow. :yahoo:

Thanks for everyone's support. :D


Great stuff. So - what was all the fuss about??????????? :D


Felt so good driving to work today and home again. Only frustrating thing is having to ring the office once I get into the car park so that somebody can come out and get my chair out of the boot. I also have to ask somebody to do the same when I leave the office. When I win the lottery I would like to get a lightweight chair with quick release wheels so that I can be totally independent. :rolleyes:

#12 horselover

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 07:03 PM

Hi Kelsey,well done for getting the hang of the handcontrols-it took me a few days too and I know exactly where you're coming from re bunnyhops,lol.Just wondered if you knew about the voucher scheme to help towards the cost of a lightweight chair(apologies if you already know about it).I use a Cyclone chair and can be totally independant-it's quite liberating.Good Luck with it all.

#13 greybeard

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 09:11 PM

When I win the lottery I would like to get a lightweight chair with quick release wheels so that I can be totally independent. :rolleyes:

The Access to Work Scheme might buy you one now. Others have had good experiences with them and will no doubt chip in with information. Certainly worth researching.

"Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day;  Rage, rage against the dying of the light" 

[Dylan Thomas]


#14 airart1

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 10:40 PM

strange set of controls too, i would have a hard time getting used to pulling on the arm to accelerate, my mark 2's u pull down to speed up and push to break, i found them quite easy, but it took a few times to get it right, buckle up for sure to help with core function, holding u in, or i do, i'm low injury so i really dont have to, but find it safer, no fun smacking the dash when u stop fast, then of course cruise control is the bomb when interstate driving or distance driving, can coast and re-accelerate with just a button now on steering wheel of van, 4x4 is older and vette was all on the cruise control stick.....sounds like your getting used to it, its great to be able to go whenever u want!!!

#15 russ1

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 09:32 PM


When I win the lottery I would like to get a lightweight chair with quick release wheels so that I can be totally independent. :rolleyes:

The Access to Work Scheme might buy you one now. Others have had good experiences with them and will no doubt chip in with information. Certainly worth researching.


Yep definately approach access to work for the lightweight chair can't believe that if you can put forward a half decent argument for one helping with your independance and allowing you to get to and from work independantly they won't fork out for whatever you want

Hi Kelsey,

One of many disadvantages of all available hand controls is that the accelerator can't be fixed freeing both your hands for the steering wheel. As I know only Menox has accelerator that can can be fixed. More than 25 years ago I designed my own controls. The accelerator stays at the position you put it. Believe me it's a real pleasure to drive like an AB with both your hands on the wheel. Now I'm redesigning it for my new car. I hope to make a video when it is ready.

I'm sure you will soon get used to your new hand controls but if you really have difficulties you may consider changing it.

Happy and safe driving !
Rudy


Centre Ring accelerator - drive with both hands on the steering wheel..... fixing the accelerator sounds plain dangerous unless it's a proper cruise control system. Having said that my latest car has adaptive cruise where it maintains a set distance to the car in front upto a max speed which is amazing ........
Russ - T2complete

#16 Kelsey

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 11:23 AM

Thanks for all your advice re: a lightweight chair. I have sent an email to Access to Work and explained my difficulties. Today, I was sat in the car park for 20 mins waiting for somebody to come out of the offices. I phone when I arrive, but it depends on who is doing what, when somebody can spare the time. :( I wasn't sure whether Access to Work would be able to help as they have already contributed towards the cost of the adaptations to my car.

My doctor said she was going to arrange for me to have an assessment in order to receive a voucher, but so far nothing has come through. I am sure I read somewhere that it can take about 10 months to get the voucher. I really need to get something sorted now, otherwise I shall start looking for a used one. :rolleyes:

I'm going to pop to a specialist wheelchair outlet at the weekend just to get an idea of what sort of wheelchair would be best and also the cost, although I am imagining it will be within the 2k mark? :blink:

Edited by Kelsey, 22 June 2011 - 11:24 AM.


#17 Lucydog

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 12:49 PM

it should get no more than 2 weeks to get a referal and appt. if you are looking to buy something do your research and get 2nd hand.
IMHO you need to think very carefully about the meritw of super lightweight. Its a shed full more cash for a few extra pounds less in weight. Probably will make very little difference in the long run. If you are so incapacitated then you probably need a power chair in the first place. Your OT should advise.

#18 Edinburgh Colin

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 01:11 PM

Access to Work should be your best bet for a Light Weight Chair, you will get the voucher but from what I understand it's not enough to cover the full cost of a mid to high level modern chair so you have to dip in to your pocket.

I'm in Scotland so it's a bit different, we don't have the voucher scheme but rather we are issued chairs, only from the approved list which is different for each health authority region but I'm pretty sure they do not go to the mid to high end chairs. I was issued a Quickie Argon from the NHS and also after putting my case to the Access to Work people that I needed a second chair to be sure I could always guarantee that I could attend meetings, travel etc they funded a second chair. My second chair is a TiLite ZRa Series 2 Titanium frame with some Carbon Fiber bits and with Spinergy extreme lightweight wheels etc, weighs only about 8 to 9kg with cushion (50% of that when you lift the frame into the car) and cost £3,800 before VAT, I think the Argon is about 30 to 40% heavier and probably that much cheaper too.

What I'm getting at is a proper assessment by Access to Work, considering the daily transfers to your car alone would in my mind almost qualify you for an Ultra Light weight chair like my TiLite and if you are lifting it in and out 4 times or more a day that extra weight saving will help and you both practically and in preventing injury (stress this at your assessment). You should be able to do it without spending any of your money too!

If the voucher system really takes that long then the Access to Work route is much quicker, mine was 2 months from requesting an assessment to being able to place an order for the chair as the funding for it was approved.

Good Luck,

EC

Edited by Edinburgh Colin, 22 June 2011 - 01:13 PM.

Impossible only describes a problem that needs viewed from a different perspective

#19 russ1

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 07:34 PM

Really, access to work will be more than happy to pay for the chair - I've had two lots of car adaptations (£2.5k each time) and two chairs (£3k each time) and a standing chair (50% contrib - 2k) from them in the last 7 years - if you need it for work they'll supply it - you or your employer will have to contribute 20% of the cost of the chair - and definately get a super lightweight - makes a huge difference if you do a lot of car transfers - I can do 20 some days.

PM me about suppliers - not a decent wheelchair supplier within 30 miles of oxford :(

Edited by russ1, 22 June 2011 - 07:35 PM.

Russ - T2complete

#20 xxm

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 08:30 AM

Centre Ring accelerator - drive with both hands on the steering wheel..... fixing the accelerator sounds plain dangerous unless it's a proper cruise control system. Having said that my latest car has adaptive cruise where it maintains a set distance to the car in front upto a max speed which is amazing ........


Russ,

1. Central Ring may be handy for drivers with intact finger function but for SCI at C6 and above it is completely useless. Equally useless are the small buttons of cruise control systems.
2. After 25 years of driving my system proved absolutely safe. In 1996 (10 years later) Menox introduced the electro-magnetic gasholder to enable quads to drive with both hands on the wheel. They also support cruise control (which is something different) for drivers who can operate it. You can find more at http://www.menox.org.

Obviously no two SCI are the same and everyone have to find the best fit for his/her disability.

Rudy
Nobody's Pain Can Be Shared.

#21 Kelsey

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 09:31 AM

What I'm getting at is a proper assessment by Access to Work, considering the daily transfers to your car alone would in my mind almost qualify you for an Ultra Light weight chair like my TiLite and if you are lifting it in and out 4 times or more a day that extra weight saving will help and you both practically and in preventing injury (stress this at your assessment). You should be able to do it without spending any of your money too!

If the voucher system really takes that long then the Access to Work route is much quicker, mine was 2 months from requesting an assessment to being able to place an order for the chair as the funding for it was approved.

Good Luck,

EC


One of my main concerns is making sure the chair is lightweight enough for the constant lifts I will have to make, if I am to get into my car myself. I will stress that I am concerned about further injury to my back if too heavy.


Thank you so much for your information on all of this.

#22 Raglet

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 08:32 AM

The only thing I do find uncomfortable is having to hold my left arm up so that I can hold the steering wheel knob.

I'll update again tomorrow evening. :)


Hi there
I have just got my hand controls fitted too - I don't always use the spinner, as my arm gets too tired (I have decreased strength in that arm). I just use the spinner when I have to turn corners - otherwise I hold my arm in a more natural position and hold the wheel with one hand down the bottom of the wheel, if that makes sense. I can control the car well, and my arm doesn't get so tired. Even with two hands that arm gets really tired on the wheel as it's so weak, so I have to compromise. Works for me, and no one's jumped out of the car screaming yet!

enjoy your car

Raglet

Edited by Raglet, 24 June 2011 - 08:33 AM.

Things don't seem so bad since I took up heavy drinking


#23 Edinburgh Colin

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 10:45 AM

Although the spinner is usually placed at the 10 o'clock position there should be no reason for you not to lower it to 8 or even 7 or 6 if that means you can rest your left elbow/forearm on the centre arm rest (if you have one) or your leg. Mine is just clamped, unscrew 1 nut and slide it down, tighten up again and job done.
EC
Impossible only describes a problem that needs viewed from a different perspective

#24 Kelsey

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 11:40 AM


The only thing I do find uncomfortable is having to hold my left arm up so that I can hold the steering wheel knob.

I'll update again tomorrow evening. :)


Hi there
I have just got my hand controls fitted too - I don't always use the spinner, as my arm gets too tired (I have decreased strength in that arm). I just use the spinner when I have to turn corners - otherwise I hold my arm in a more natural position and hold the wheel with one hand down the bottom of the wheel, if that makes sense. I can control the car well, and my arm doesn't get so tired. Even with two hands that arm gets really tired on the wheel as it's so weak, so I have to compromise. Works for me, and no one's jumped out of the car screaming yet!

enjoy your car

Raglet



Although the spinner is usually placed at the 10 o'clock position there should be no reason for you not to lower it to 8 or even 7 or 6 if that means you can rest your left elbow/forearm on the centre arm rest (if you have one) or your leg. Mine is just clamped, unscrew 1 nut and slide it down, tighten up again and job done.
EC


Doh, why didn't I think of that? :doh: I'll give it a go as my left arm and shoulder is really achey today. Well, I have managed a full week driving to and from work, so its worth the sore arm. :drive: :rolleyes:


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