Best Disability and Mobility Aids for Car Drivers

Driving on an open road is a sensation like no other. For many people, the experience is a simple pleasure and effortless, but perhaps not for others. The freedom and independence of driving can be accessible to anyone who uses a wheelchair, has restricted mobility, or has other disabilities. With the correct personal driving aids, equipment, and adaptive technologies, the future looks brighter and selections more expansive. The top choices of disability and mobility aids for car drivers will be discussed in this blog. The checklist includes hand controls, steering wheel aids, lifts, pedal extensions, swivel seats, and technology-based driving aids. This piece aims to provide the best information for worry-free decision-making. Let’s get on the road!

Before getting started with disability and mobility aids for car drivers, contact a mobility specialist, occupational therapist, or certified driver rehabilitation specialist. This person can help disabled drivers select the best devices or vehicle options.

Here is a list of mobility aids for car drivers with disability.

Hand Controls – Basic Mobility Aids for Car Drivers

Hand Controls - Basic Mobility Aids for Car Drivers -hand conrols

Hand controls are assistive technologies. The controls allow drivers to operate the gas and brake without using their feet. The aids are attached below the steering wheel and anchored to the gas and brake pedals below. Four styles of levers or paddles may be oriented according to the driver’s needs. There is a push/right angle style for limited finger dexterity, a push/rock style is to accelerate and brand by hand; a push/rotate style for full or restricted finger function and small vehicular space, and a push/pull style is also suggested for drivers with limited finger movement.

Electronic systems are also great options to consider. Electronic shift controls may be installed on an automatic transmission. Single buttons operate the park, reverse, neutral, and drive functions. The universal touchpad console provides midgrade control for drivers. The console buttons control ignition, wipers, cruise control, lights, and fan speeds. A joystick gas, brake, and steering control offers a variety of control functions with wheel orthotic options, lever, and joystick controls. A voice-operated control support is available for shifter functions, headlight dimmer, wipers, turn signals, and horn.

Steering Wheel Aids – Essential Mobility Aids for Car Drivers

Steering wheel aids are considered highly adaptive equipment. These aids allow physically challenged drivers to steer safely and comfortably within their limitations. Amputee driver rings provide grip control for prosthetic hooks. Spinner knobs fit most steering wheels and allow for a quick-release function. Palm grip and V grip are the perfect devices for drivers with moderate gripping strength. The tri-pin is ideal for drivers who require wrist support and have reduced gripping strength. A single pin is a fabulous tool for drivers who cannot open their hand(s) completely.

Transfer and Lift Solutions – Assistive Mobility Aids for Car Drivers

Convenience is essential for drivers with limited mobility. Driving becomes less pleasurable when getting into and out of a vehicle is difficult and unsafe. When choosing a transfer seat or lift solution, disabled drivers should focus on weight capacity, rider position, vehicle type, and transfer capability. Turning transfer seats like a swivel seat helps anyone get in and out of a vehicle. Wheelchair-accessible vehicle transfer seats allow for the movement between a car seat and a wheelchair and vice versa, which is practical and easy. Transfer boards are one of the most economical options for gliding between car seats and a wheelchair.

Lift solutions may also be a priority for many drivers and their passengers. When choosing a lift, careful attention should be paid to ADA compliance, wheelchair ramp style, lifting capacity, weight capacity, and hoistaway options. Platform wheelchair lifts are designed for vans, recreational vehicles, campers, or buses. Exterior wheelchair carriers and scooter lifts are installed outside of the car. Interior wheelchair and scooter lifts are installed inside of a vehicle. This option allows drivers to maneuver directly onto the lift and let the vehicle move the lift into the car. An occupied person lift may be used in conjunction with a swivel seat or transfer board and used in various vehicles.

Pedal Extensions and Adjustments

Pedal extensions and adjustment devices are necessary for drivers who have lower-body mobility issues. A mechanical left foot accelerator may help someone with lost or limited mobility with their right foot. A built-in pedal is added. The electronic foot left-foot accelerator allows drivers to operate the gas with their left foot. The right pedal or OEM pedal is made inoperable and requires a trained driver before use. Pedal extensions are for drivers whose legs can’t reach and operate vehicle pedals. The devices are attached to the original pedals and reduce distances from two to eight inches. They may be used for a clutch, brake, or accelerator. A heel shelf provides a resting platform for feed while driving. The heights are three inches, five inches, and seven inches. The device may be easily removed when needed.

Adaptive Seating and Cushions

Sitting without adequate padding can ruin a short or long-distance road trip. Adaptive seating is designing and making a cushion or spinal support for individual drivers’ whose needs are unmet through conventional manufacturing practices. Configured and molded seating are two common forms of adaptive seating. Configured seating requires the layering of materials on top of a wood base. Additional layers are added to achieve the necessary driver’s shape and contour. Foam and gel are used in alternating layers to create the desired form for the client. Finally, seat covers are tailor-made and installed over the prepared base. Configured seats can be built to allow for individual growth and changes. Seat style may include a wedge seat, contour seat, anti-thrust seat, and a split seat. Molded seating conforms directly to the back of the client. This seat protects bones and other contact points across spinal and postural areas. Direct molds, also called foam-in-place, are molded into the shape of the person’s body. The liquid foam is poured into a plastic bag and expanded as needed. Indirect molds are made from a disabled driver’s shape from a captured medium. That medium is then turned into a molded cushion or back support.

Technology Assisted-Driving Aids

Modern car and truck technology makes daily tasks more accessible for mobility-challenged drivers. The new technology also supports their comfort and driving safety. Rearview cameras make backing straight into and out of parking stalls easier and safer. The alerts let the driver know when an object, person, or vehicle is too close. Global positioning satellite (GPS) systems make it a breeze to drive around town and over long distances without needing a paper map. Remote temperature control lets drivers change internal cab temperature quickly without fiddling with controls. Remote summoning lets a driver know how close another vehicle or object is to their car so, if necessary, they can maneuver into better space for a wheelchair ramp. Adaptive cruise control is in many vehicles today. The system prevents drivers from getting too close to the car in front of them. It also adjusts speed if the vehicle in front slows down.

Additional technologies that aid disabled drivers are:
* Bright headlights
* Voice-activated systems
* Crash mitigation systems
* Drowsy driver alerts
* Parking assistance
* Emergency response systems
* Lane departure warnings
* Vehicle stability control
* Blind spot warnings

Self-driving vehicles are the next step and are already here. Mobility robots and powered stair climbers are also becoming a significant part of the future.

Accessibility and Installation Consideration

Installing customized push/pull controls can run between $1000-$6000. Basic controls may range from $200-$500. Push/rotate or twist controls are considered the most popular device choice. Push/pull controls are the most common. Installing electronic systems in a new vehicle can run $20,000-$80,000. Prices for converting a currently owned vehicle will vary on the car. An additional factor to pay attention to is space. Specific controls, seats, lifts, and technologies can only be adapted with enough room. Local vehicle dealerships and disability service technicians can provide a recommended maintenance schedule for all aids and devices. Assistive and adaptive aids and devices are expensive these days. Hopefully, soon, it won’t be the case. Everyone deserves to experience all life has to offer.

Funding and Insurance Coverage

Some insurance companies and Medicare may reimburse drivers for the expense if the hand controls, leg extensions, and seats are medically necessary. However, Medicare will not pay for scooter lifts. Contact a local car dealer for more information about all aids and devices. Many assistive aid and device retailers, distributors, and dealerships offer financing options. Ask for their service and pricing sheet

Real-Life Stories and Testimonials

In 2016, a Springfield, Missouri, man credited his Tesla Model X with saving his life. According to CNBC, the vehicle’s auto-pilot mode safely got him to the hospital. Read more.

Ryan Hudson-Peralta was born with Congenital Limb Deficiency. Doctors said he’d never drive a car or have a job or family, but he beat the odds. He now uses his power wheelchair and drives a Braunability Chevrolet Traverse. He is also a father of two kids and a motivational speaker. Read more.

In The Mighty newsletter, Sarah Todd Hammer talks about how they learned to drive with adaptive equipment as a teenager due to a spinal cord injury. She tells her very personal story of how she overcame her challenges and succeeded. Read more.

Disabled race car drivers like Thierry Genetier, Nicolas Hamilton, Charlie Ray Howell, Michael Johnson, Robert Kubica, Caleb McDuff, Nathalie McGloin, Billy Monger, Frédéric Sausset, and Sam Schmidt don’t let their disabilities stand in their way. Read more.

This blog has explored great options for limited mobility drivers. Making decisions about the right aids and devices may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s help available in many places, from the doctor’s office, state and federal government agencies, occupational therapists, and nonprofit organizations. Disabled drivers don’t let challenges prevent road access, independence, and the freedom of the open road. A teenage girl has learned to drive, and disabled race car drivers still achieve and live their dreams. The sky is the limit. The accessibility and freedom of individuals with limited or lost mobility constantly change in today’s world. As scientists and inventors continue to innovate, who knows where the future will take. Accessibility and independent movement is something to be treasured and appreciated.

Resource Links:

Amazon carries some top picks for hand controls, including Kashaipu Hand Controls for Driving Cars, QuicStick Portable Hand Controls Gas and Brake, SporGain Portable Hand Controls, QuicStick Push Pull Hand Control Black, and QuicStick Portable Hand Controls for Vehicles.

Electronic Mobility Controls, LLC has excellent selections for electronic systems, including the Smart-Shift Electronic Shift Controls, the Econo-Series Console System, AEVIT (shift-by-wire knob), and the Voice Interactive Controls.

The Journalism Post has evaluated and recommended “Best Hand Controls for Cars for 2024.” For more insights, go to

Mobility Works offers a wide range of equipment for disabled drivers. They specialize in assisting drivers find the appropriate tools and fit for the driver and vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has information on assistive devices and adaptive vehicles.

United Access, a branch of BraunAbility, offers the BraunAbility Turny Evo, BraunAbility Turny Orbit, and BraunAbility Turny Manual. Additionally, United Access offers many lifts, such as the BraunAbility, Bruno, and Harmar. These lifts may be used with a van, car, truck, or SUV. Mobility Innovations distributes adaptive vehicle aids and devices manufactured by Veigel and Auto Chair Ltd.

XSTO offers mobility robots, stair climbers, and all-terrain mobility robots for physically challenged drivers and persons. Learn more at

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