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Car Hand Controls - Help!

Hi All, I had hand controls fitted to my car yesterday as foot not up to driving for very long, so thought taking the plunge would make life easier…WRONG!!! I drove the car after having them fitted and it was the worst experience of my life! I think I bunny hopped the majority of the way, did several unintentional emergency stops and that was just the push/pull control. The steering ball is okish but steering with one hand and my less dominant arm - I just don’t think I’m ever going to be able to do it :frowning: - I’ve been driving 20 years with my feet, so yesterday was like that first dreaded driving lesson where you haven’t a clue how you’re ever going to be able to drive the darn thing!

Has anybody got any tips and advice - do things get easier? will I get the hand of it?

Hi,

I picked up my motability car with hand controls last week. I’d had an assessment at one of the NHS centres just before Christmas. They recommended I had about 6 hours of tuition prior to picking up the car. Motability will pay for the lessons if you ask them (they don’t tend to advertise it).

My first lesson was awful and I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. I don’t think I got above 20mph! However, the next lessons were fine and the instructor was happy with me after 4 hours. I was still nervous when I picked the car up but it has been fine. I still occasionally want to do things with my feet but it doesn’t last long. I passed my test almost 30 years ago so I do know what you mean.

It is worth having some lessons if you can, even if it’s just to give you the confidence that you can do it.

Good Luck,

Sarah x

Hi Sarah, I’ve had the controls fitted since I got my car a year ago, motanility were great about it and asked if I needed lessons - “of course not” I thought but it’s a whole new thing using the controls. I’m going to break it down a little and start just driving with the steering ball and one hand. Think if I can get the hang of that then the rest will follow in due course…I hope.

But, yes, in hindsight I should have agreed to lessons.

You don’t say who fitted the adaptation for you, but it looks as if they have severely let you down.

Number one they should have given you an assessment before making any adaptations to your car, to see which suited you best.

Then after the fitting, they should have provided instruction, together with a driving assessment by a DVLA approved examiner/assessor, after satisfying this assessor, that you had complete and safe control of your car, the assessor would have provided you with the necessary certificate, to forward to the DVLA, to get your driving licence endorsed to the fact that you can drive an adapted car.

Don’t worry, this necessary assessment is not a driving test, but just to see that you have safe control of your car.

Hope this is of help.

Take care.

Chris R.

I. El. (Eng). (Rtd).

Hi, could you maybe have a practice in a quiet area, like a waste ground, very big car park, industrial estate. Dont worry you will get used to it, it’s just a confidence thing, remember the first time you drove? Cheryl:-)

Dear Sarah,

TIME AND PLACE!!!

If ever a message was so effective then this it!!!

My wife just came back from ordering a new Motability Mercedes. It will be my 4th Motability car but I lost my license because my RRMS prevented my foot from travelling from accelerator to brake pedal ‘quick enough’. I have had MS for 13+ years and I was a Director of 4 garages in the ‘family business’ (which had been in existance for around 50 years). I myself am 56. I kind of thought that Motability ‘did’ this sort of thing but had never taken it any further! I will try and not get worked up about it but if I could, I would KISS you - THANKS!!!

Marcus. xxxxxxxxxx.

Oh wow I didn’t realise I had to have an assesment to use the controls? does this mean I’m not legally allowed to drive with them then? I simply asked motability, they gave me an authorised supplier/fitter, they funded it asked if I needed lessons, but nobody has said anything about telling the DVLA or having an assesment…

Chris I just spoke to motability and they say there is no need to have an assesment or test and that the DVLA will already be informed because of the records Motability hold. So panic over :slight_smile:

I must say, I did have another little go of the controls again today and it was much better then yesterday, guess practice practice practice is the key.

Is your mobility centre DVLA approved ?.

This is a brief explanation of my car adaptation procedure :-

1 Referred to the DVLA approved mobility centre by my MS nurse.

2 Appointment sent from the mobility centre to carry out an assessment of my needs.

3 At this appointment, I was first interviewed and given a cognitive test, plus the standard eye test (i.e. reading a car number plate at a set distance).

4 Given a driving assessment by a DVLA approved assessor in their car which was fitted with all of the different types of controls, from which it was clear that, left foot accelerator best suited my needs.

5 Date and time arranged to have my car modified. With a firm price quotation to carry out the work.

6 At the date arranged, my car collected, modification carried out, car returned to me, with instructions not to drive it before being assessed.

7 Next day DVLA approved assessor came to my home. Went out for a driving assessment, which lasted one hour approx, at this point the DVLA assessor was satisfied with my driving ability with the left foot adaptation to issue the necessary paperwork required by the DVLA. (He did make the comment that it normally takes five one hour sessions to reach the necessary driving standard, but I satisfied the requirement in the one hour).

8 Sent my driving licence to the DVLA, with the necessary paperwork. Driving licence returned from DVLA, licence specifies that I can drive an automatic with left foot accelerator and brake adaptation class of vehicle.

9 This is also specified on my insurance documents.

As I stated in my other post, the mobility centre which I attended is DVLA APROVED.

I am not trying scare or otherwise, that is not my intention, but hoping that I am passing on useful information.

As I said previously, the driving assessment is not a driving test, but simply to ensure you can correctly control the vehicle, in such a way that you are not a danger to yourself or others.

Take care.

Chris R.

I. El. (Eng). (Rtd

Hi Tillymo, I didn’t have an assessment or test either and like you dvla were informed through mortality and it was all fine. But that was a long time ago (1996). I worry sometimes that even though it was so long ago that somehow I missed being assessed and that maybe I was meant to be. So I am glad to haveyou confirm that this doesn’t appear to be the case since you have also just driven away in your car which is exactly what I did. glad that today’s drive was better than yesterday, you will get the hang of it in no time. Cheryl:-)

Hi Tillymo,

Its difficult at first but with practice you’ll soon get the hang of it - time and practice and patience is what’s needed. I’ve had hand controls for 4 years now and never had a test or assessment, and I happily tootle along now. I got hand controls as a safey measure as sometime my legs didn’t work properly (I’m a wheelchair user). But 4 years on I’m still driving and am completely used to them now - it just takes a bit to adapting to.

So keep at it and eventuallly you’ll enjoy driving with your hands just as much as you did with your feet.

Hope this helps, Mary ;-))

Hi Tillymo, have you got used to the controls now? I am considering having my new car fitted with them.

Hi, I was interested to read this post again.

I also wonder how the OP is doing with hand controls now.

I stopped driving 10 years ago, due to my feet not working.

I didnt bother with hand controls, as hubby drives me where I want to go.

BUT sometimes it isnt a convenient time or place for him, so I would love my own car again.

It would have to be a drive from wheelchair.

I often look them up on tinternet. A new conversion costs around 15k!!! Then there`s any pre-payment on top.

BUT I have seen used models ranging from 4k upwards.

Maybe one day…

Good luck to you Bostick.

luv Pollx

Lessons with an assessor/instructer highly recommended (even though I never pursued it).

So I tried cars with hand controls (recommended by Motability), but it wasn’t for me :frowning:

I was terrified lol plus having lost all sensitivity in my hands/fingers (I drop my cigarettes), then I wasn’t going to risk it.

Miss driving though.

Best of luck (and have some courses before venturing out on your own).

Alyx

I rang Motability - they sent me to a specialist centre who tested my reflexes by driving an electronic rig - reaction time, vision etc, then took me out on a test track with a variety of controls to choose the best option for me… also sorted me with wheelchair hoist as I am a “partial” user.- but it is more and more often as the MS is affecting my walking.

While waiting for my car to be adapted I had lessons with my “local” BSM instructor (paid for by motability) I then had a couple of lessons in my car and was advised to use green P plates for 6 weeks or so until I was confident about my driving in all situations. A copy of the specialist centres report was also sent to my GP and the DVLA (who are now changing my licence to allow for the of an adapted car) - motability paid for my adaptions as I have one of their cars.

The only thing I had to pay for was the normal advance for choosing a slightly higher spec than average and for the towing hook for my mobility scooter trailer which is a option I wanted.

I rang Motability - they sent me to a specialist centre who tested my reflexes by driving an electronic rig - reaction time, vision etc, then took me out on a test track with a variety of controls to choose the best option for me… also sorted me with wheelchair hoist as I am a “partial” user.- but it is more and more often as the MS is affecting my walking.

While waiting for my car to be adapted I had lessons with my “local” BSM instructor (paid for by motability) I then had a couple of lessons in my car and was advised to use green P plates for 6 weeks or so until I was confident about my driving in all situations. A copy of the specialist centres report was also sent to my GP and the DVLA (who are now changing my licence to allow for the of an adapted car) - motability paid for my adaptions as I have one of their cars.

The only thing I had to pay for was the normal advance for choosing a slightly higher spec than average and for the towing hook for my mobility scooter trailer which is a option I wanted.

I have had hand controls fitted to my car for 5 years now and it’s second nature BUT at first it’s obviously not. I can’t believe that it’s legal to drive an adapted car without lessons, it’s a totally different way of driving.

I chose to have a few lessons after I was assessed as I simply didn’t feel comfortable without. I kept thinking that if I was in an accident situation then my instinct to brake would be to move my foot to stamp on the brake pedal (but I couldn’t do it fast enough). I had 5 lessons (they were £12 each), and it was the best thing I ever did.

You can find out about your local driving assessment centre here

http://www.rdac.co.uk/

hope this helps
Naomi x

I have had hand controls fitted to my car for 5 years now and it’s second nature BUT at first it’s obviously not. I can’t believe that it’s legal to drive an adapted car without lessons, it’s a totally different way of driving.

I chose to have a few lessons after I was assessed as I simply didn’t feel comfortable without. I kept thinking that if I was in an accident situation then my instinct to brake would be to move my foot to stamp on the brake pedal (but I couldn’t do it fast enough). I had 5 lessons (they were £12 each), and it was the best thing I ever did.

You can find out about your local driving assessment centre here

http://www.rdac.co.uk/

hope this helps
Naomi x

Just had my first lesson with hand controls, and I am wondering whether I will ever get above 30mph! Scary.

I had a left foot accelertor fitted in my car only 2 weeks ago and I think I should have gone for hand controls instead as my left foot presses the accerator thinking it is the clutch somehow and I lurch forward. Cant remove that instinct. I am now going for hand controls!

Moyna xxx