1. Be an advocate for your own independence.
I transitioned over to high tech hand controls once I was unable to turn a steering wheel safely. As a person with a muscular dystrophy, over time I have lost strength in my shoulders and upper arms. I love being independent, and the high tech driving system in my van goes a long way towards keeping me that way.
2. Connect with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS).
Under the guidance of a CDRS, we trialed two separate control systems before deciding on the Joysteer system. It allows me to drive my van with a 4-way joystick, much like driving my power wheelchair, except that pulling backwards on the van’s joystick applies the brakes and on the wheelchair’s joystick the same movement lets me drive backwards.
3. Choose equipment that is right for your needs.
In my van, the box mounted to the driver’s door has a dynamic display and lets me operate everything from shifting the van in/out of park to activating the windshield wipers and turn signals, changing the heat/cool temperature and fan speed, and opening/closing the windows.
4. Drive with confidence!
The amazing part of the whole thing is that by flipping two switches, one that controls the motors in the steering column and the other that takes input from the joystick, the van can be driven “as normal” once you get it started and shifted into gear.