Lower LimbsSeptember 8, 2022
BILATERAL LOWER LIMBS
e.g. bilateral amputees, paraplegics, spina bifida, polio, muscular dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.
Where the driver has not got enough function in their legs to enable them to use the pedals, then Hand controls are fitted.
SINGLE LOWER LIMBS
e.g. amputee, incomplete spinal cord injury, stroke, etc.
Left leg affected:
Where there is weakness in the left leg, the endurance is an important factor to consider as well as the amount of sensory feedback from the leg, allowing the driver to feel the position of the foot in order to have accurate clutch control.
Right leg affected:
When a person is unable to use their right leg on the pedals they are generally limited to driving an automatic car and have the choice of fitting a left foot accelerator pedal or using hand controls. The Guidosimplex hand control system can be fitted to a manual car but this is very expensive.
Using the left leg on the right hand pedals is allowed but is not recommended for long term use due to the twisting of the hip and lower back which may lead to long term postural problems.
Driving with any of these methods, the driver is required to re-do their driving licence.
People with a below knee amputation can choose between driving with their prosthesis, a left foot accelerator pedal or hand controls. Driving with a prosthesis requires a well rehabilitated person and usually requires a few months to get used to a it before they have the confidence and control of it to drive.
Where there is a strong hip it is often still possible to drive with reduced function in the lower leg, such as a drop-foot. Since the right foot needs to quickly move between the pedals, the sensory feedback is essential to feel where the foot is in relation to the pedals. Where there is no sensation in the right foot it is safer to drive with hand controls of a left foot accelerator pedal.