There’s no doubt about it – being an amputee is hard. Loving a limb can affect your quality of life significantly and even prevent you from engaging in the activities you love. Driving, for one, is a necessary part of life for many of us.
When that ability to commute independently is stripped away, individuals often feel helpless and that they don’t have much control over their own lives. Fortunately, there are adjustments one can make to a car to allow amputees to drive. In this article, we will discuss the specifics of modified vehicles for amputees and how you can make these adjustments on your own.
How a Vehicle Can be Modified for an Amputee
For an individual with both legs amputated, a modified car would have an option to control the accelerator, brakes, and clutch with your hands instead of your feet. An amputee who only has a left leg may shift the pedals to the left side to allow them to control the car, even without the help of their right.
An amputee with only their right arm may be allowed to shift the hand brake to the right side of the seat instead of it being in the middle. The opposite is true for the countries that drive on the opposite side of the road. Additionally, light controls may be moved to where the driver is most comfortable with.
Some people prefer to use their feet to control their lights and windows while others may prefer to add a switch to the steering wheel. If the driver has no arms, however, they may be able to drive with a joystick modification that allows them to steer the car using the side-to-side shifting of the stick. The door may be adjusted to ensure that the driver can get out of the car quickly if necessary. For example, if the driver doesn’t have a right arm, the door hinge may be moved to the gearbox area instead. Lastly, additional features may be added, such as a steering nob, rotating seat, or even a permanent socket to place your amputated limb in which can act as the hand on the steering wheel. If you need to be in a wheelchair at all times, you can even remove the driver’s seat completely and replace it with a wheelchair holder!
The Costs of the Operation Can Vary
If you are looking to purchase a vehicle as an amputee driver, you have to be certain that the car model is able to be modified and adjusted to meet your needs. Additionally, it is imperative that you work with a professional mechanic shop that is licensed to carry out the operation. Many people expect the process to cost a considerable amount of money. However, this does not always have to be the case, as it will depend on how many adjustments the shop has to make. If the project requires a complete overhaul of the gearbox, the steering wheel, and the foot pedals, the cost may be extremely high. On the other hand, if you only need a few minor modifications done, the costs are often quite manageable.
Drivers with a weakened or missing leg may benefit more from using a vehicle with an automatic transmission system, as that will reduce the workload that the leg has to endure. Excluding the clutch from the equation will allow the driver to drive comfortably for long hours. You should keep in mind that it is crucial to consider your condition when adapting a car, as it will have a significant effect on your safety and comfort while you drive. It’s best to consult a professional to understand the extent of legal boundaries when it comes to the adjustments. This ensures that you avoid breaking the law unintentionally.
Learn more about our prosthesis solutions on our product page. Feel free to get in touch with us today to see how we can help!