Being able to drive yourself, in your own vehicle, can bring enormous independence and freedom. For those who operate a vehicle for their livelihood, it means a whole lot more.
Independence, freedom and quality of life
Cars (and vans, utes, tractors, buses, graders etc.) are actually very sophisticated pieces of machinery. The ergonomics have been refined over the years, as manufacturers have relentlessly tried to outperform each other. The result of this evolution is that driving is now safer and easier than ever. Unless you've got some physical disability, that is.
For people with a disability, who can’t operate a standard vehicle for any reason, driving can be a serious challenge, requiring a serious engineering solution.
Driving with disability
It can take time to get used to indicating with your head, steering with your feet or even operating the whole vehicle using a hand control. But, at the end of the day, it’s just learning to drive, using different methods. Once you’ve mastered it, and assuming the equipment was designed and fitted properly, it should feel very natural, even enjoyable.
Physical limitations vary enormously, requiring solutions from a wide range of variables:
- Driving controls: Actuated by feet, arms, hands, fingers and/or head.
- Seating options: Wheelchair or vehicle seat.
Driving controls is an area we specialise in. It is the most complex area in vehicle modifications, and possibly the most rewarding. The driver must be able to control the vehicle safely, comfortably and predictably whether they are using a simple Spinmaster Spinner Knob, or a full electronic Space Drive set up.
Driving controls are getting better all the time thanks, mostly, to technological advances. Many vehicle functions can now be controlled electronically, with small finger movements or voice activation which involve very little strength. Having said that, a lot of our work still involves mechanical, or electro-mechanical modifications.
Drivers can choose to sit in the vehicle seat (standard or modified) or in a wheelchair, which is manoeuvred into position and locked in. Using the vehicle seat may require transfer from a wheelchair. This transfer can be achieved inside the vehicle, after wheeling the chair on board, or from outside, with the chair being stored in a separate operation.
- Wheelchair vehicle access
- Vehicle seat: Internal and External transfer
Drive it yourself
We know the value of being able to drive yourself. We know that it’s much more than independence or freedom or the ability to work, while all these things are fundamental. We know that it’s about quality of life, self-esteem and good old-fashioned happiness.
Each vehicle conversion is unique to the individual, it has to meet their specific needs and complement their physical handicaps. The work requires a deep understanding of a client’s needs, quality engineering and enormous attention to detail. If you’re curious about what your solution could look like, give us a ring. We look forward to your call.