As well as the range of car controls that you can buy, complete control systems can be built around you. These include devices to help you into the car as well as driving controls chosen and tailored to fit you.
Electronic ('fly by wire') accelerator, brake and steering controls can be mounted anywhere and can be controlled by any part of your body where you have enough movement and control. Remote keypads to select gears or control secondary functions can be mounted anywhere or combined with primary-control joysticks. Secondary controls can also be operated using head switches, suck-and-blow tubes or other input devices.
Primary-control joysticks allow you to steer, brake and accelerate with a single joystick, which can be placed in any position that suits you. You push the joystick from side to side to steer, pull it back to accelerate and push it forwards to brake. It has speed-sensitive steering, which adjusts the action and feel of the joystick to your speed. This makes parking and manoeuvring easier. You can switch the system off if someone else is driving.
These systems are expensive and have to be specially adapted to suit you. It is particularly important to get an assessment to find out if they are likely to work for you, and to have them designed correctly around your abilities. You will also need plenty of time to practise and some specialist driving instruction. Your local Mobility Centre will be able to help you find a suitable instructor.
Information on companies providing custom-built controls solutions can be found in our contacts database.
Last updated: June 2012