How A Paraplegic Drives With Hand Controls

3.11.2016
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Content via Kristin Blevins
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Kristin Blevins

Kristin is a T9 paraplegic and demonstrates how she drives a vehicle using hand controls.

The hand trigger or throttle is mounted on the left side of the steering wheel. Kristin controls the hand trigger her left hand. She pulls it downward to engage the gas, and pushes it forward by extending her elbow to engage the brakes. Kristin also has a knob mounted on the steering wheel which allows her to control the wheel easily with her right hand.

Kristin pulls out onto the highway and demonstrates how she is able to drive the vehicle using the coordinated movements of her hands. She also shows us how she uses cruise control which allows her to have some freedom with both hands.

“But you don’t want to take your hand away from the gas too much because then if you need to brake, you need to have good reflexes to stop.”

Once she’s on the road, Kristin has some good tips about hand position while driving. She demonstrates how she grips the steering wheel with her right hand, but keeps the knob positioned between her thumb and forefinger. Gripping the knob while driving isn’t something Kristin recommends “because it’s kind of an odd position for your hand, and you don’t really have good control of the steering wheel,” she says. She also shows how she uses her fingers on her left hand to control the hand trigger while keeping her left thumb on the steering wheel to add more support while steering.

No matter how you drive a car, start out slowly with lots of practice before heading out into traffic. Pretty soon you’ll be a pro like Kristin!

Share this post with someone who wants to make the transition from passenger to driver.

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