Car Modifications for Drivers with Disabilities

Driver's with disabilities can drive! Learn how here.

Car Modifications for Drivers with Disabilities


#smartdrivetest #southtraildrivingschool #driverswithdisabilities #drivingwithhandcontrols

Closed Caption


- Drivers with disabilities can drive, and there's a lot of options available to them.

On a trip to Calgary we caught up with Nelson Chateauneuf.

Nelson Chateauneuf of Southtrail Driving School demonstrate the controls available to drivers with diabilities.

He's the owner of Southtrail Driving School, and he went over all of the options available to drivers with disabilities.

Stick around.

We'll be right back with that information.

Nelson Chateauneuf - Southtrail Driving School

- So, I'll start with the...

It's called the RF360 Mini, where you got all six buttons here for the different functions around your car.

So in order for these to work, I got to start the car.

Same as any other instruments in your car.

You got to start your car for them to get, to work.

For drivers with disabilities the main secondary controls are right on the spinner knob so that drivers can keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

So here we go.

We got our regular signal, right.

Regular signal, left.

Secondary Controls for the Vehicle Right On the Spinner Know

Now I'm going to do it with the 360 Mini, RF 360.

Here we go.

Signal left and I push it on again, to cancel.

And it cancels by itself after 15 seconds.

And at a light, you're stopped at a light, you got it on.

As long as you got your foot on the brake or your hand on the brake, the signal light stays on.

The signals, horn, high and low beams, wipers and washer are all on the spinner knob secondary controls.Okay, so, I'm going to cancel signal light.

Here's my horn. 

Here's the wipers.

Okay, and you've got to click on it four times to turn it off.

Here's low beams, high beams.


And again, here, the right hand signal, turn it off.

And my windshield washer is on this button here.

Nelson Chateauneuf demonstrating the spinner know for drivers with disabilities to allow them to drive with hand controls.

So this the newest of Sure Grip technology here for hand controls.

And then you can have it on the right side or you can set it on the left side.

It's, so this way here, you don't let go of your steering wheel.

The other one like this, if you don't like the buttons sticking out like that, you, we've got the RF-360.

And again, it's made by Sure Grip.

Spinner know with flush buttons to operate the secondary controls for drivers with disabilities.

It's a Canadian company.

Well-known from New Brunswick and they got the buttons flush and it's a different kind of a handle.

We also got the Tri-Pin, for, So here we go.

So you keep, and it could tighten up.

So you got the Tri-Pin, comes in pretty handy.

It's being used, but again they have to let go to go honk their horn.

The tri-pin spinner know for drivers that may have difficulty manipulating their hand when driving a car with hand controls.

So now I'd like to introduce the hand control part of it.

So I turned the car off.

Now I'm going to start the car.

Okay the car's running.

And in order to activate the hand control, I got to push a button here.

There is no reason that a person with a disability can't drive with hand controls and the proper vehicle.

Hand Control to Operarte the Gas & the Brake

So that's again, safety because you don't want your mechanic just to be running your car with the system.

There's our gas.

There's our brake.

So it's push in, rock, angle.

It's called the push-in rock angle.

Left and right.

So there you are.

You can cruise all day.

Rick getting familiar with the hand controls of the vehicle in the parking lot and executing a reverse park manoeuvre.

Work your way to Vancouver or Halifax.

And you'll be just as safe as any other driver.

There's no reason why a person with a physical disability can not drive.

So I encourage anybody, everybody, that needs this kind of system to do it.

Left Gas Pedal

Okay, now I'm going to show you another system now.

It's called your Light Feather gas pedal.

The left gas pedal allows those that have experienced a stroke or lost their right leg to drive a car.

- So this would be for amputees who don't have the right leg they would able, to be able to drive with their left leg?

- Correct.

- [Rick] Okay.

- So amputees or people that's had a stroke, paralyzed on the right side, now they can drive on, everything on the left side.

Working in the Parking Lot to Get Accustomed to the Hand Controls

So here we go.

So now we got the left gas pedal and we got our spinner knob with the six functions on it.

Nelson hanging on tight and joking with Rick as he gets accustomed to the hand controls of the vehicle.

So here we are going with Rick testing, this new hand control.

I got my seatbelt on and I'm holding on.

- I just don't, want to go out that way?

- Just drive around the lot here, Rick.

And then we'll go out on the streets just slowing down on your corner.

I like to say to the students at 15 to 18 kilometers an hour-

- [Rick] Yeah.

- you'll never go wrong.

The car's not going to pull.

- Yeah, so it's interesting because it's just this, just twists and then to brake, the whole assembly moves forward.

- [Nelson] Correct.

- [Rick] Yeah.

You're right, it is.

Apply the parking brake every time you park the vehicle to ensure its there when you return. This is a must for a driver's test.

The whole thing is like the brake and everything, is sensitive.

- People get used to it, you know? It's-

- [Rick] Yeah.

- [Nelson] It's like, you're getting a new cell phone.

How long does it take you to get used to it? You know, some people will take three months to get used to it.

This system here, they get used to it, like within a couple hours.

- Well, and it's very intuitive too, right? Like we're moving forward.

All your momentum is going forward when you're braking.

The safety switch prevents accidental use of the hand controls by the unsuspecting driver.

So you're already moving forward, so it's helping you to brake, right?

- Sure.

And then when you pull back, it's, you know, it's not something that you're going to mistake when you're driving.

Now, the only thing, like you said pre- before is the risk is to resist taking your hand off the wheel.

- Yeah.

So that was what the old Spinner Knob System.

As this one here, you don't need to take your hands off the steering wheel, so-

- [Rick] Yep.

And then the other thing- that I want to work on is, and then signal, slow down, and then around and then I can cancel it, or it will cancel on its own, as you said.

- Correct.

Having the secondary controls on the spinner knob allows drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel while driving.

- [Rick] Cool! Very cool.

- As if you're using the regular Spinner Knob, you're going to be taking your hands off the steering wheel, or the Spinner Knob-

- Yeah.

- to go signal, honk your horn, use your wipers, which is highly unsafe.

I mean, it takes 3/4 seconds-

- [Rick] Yeah.

- to get into a collision, real quick, and, it distracts also your, you know, the old system, your reaction time.

So it's going to take you longer to react with the old system.

- [Rick] Yeah.

- [Nelson] As this one here, it's right away.

- I have to say I'm a huge advocate of backup-

- Backup, yeah - up cameras.

Driving out on the highway with hand controls.

- So here, of course, you know, to put it in gear, you got to put your hand on the brake.

- Yeah.

- So it's safe to change gears then.

- Yeah.

- Now the only thing, it's an automatic transmission, obviously.

Electronic Parking Brakes - apply the parking brake every time

I advocate putting on the parking brake.

The only thing is is that this vehicle would be a foot control for the parking brake, right?

- So, no.

This one here has the automatic-

- [Rick] Electronic.

- Yeah.

If you've got the foot one, then there's a call, what they call the brake extension.

The spinner knob can be placed on the right or left of the steering wheel depending on the driver's preference.

- Okay.

- So it's a little piece of rod coming out that hangs on to the-

- Okay.

brake and, they push it down.

- I'm still getting used to these newer cars having these electronic parking brakes.

- Well, I still show the kids, you know, before their road tests on, during their lessons to put it on-

- [Rick] Yeah.

- [Nelson] Even though it comes on automatically, because I want them to get used to it.

- Yeah.

I'll try to stay out of the puddles in your nice clean car.

Driving on freeways with hand controls is easy with hand controls.

- [Nelson] I wouldn't worry about it.

I wash it every day.

- All right, let's go for a drive.

- All right.

Rick is, feel pretty confident here with this new system.

When I was training in Toronto, Rick, so I was on the 401 with my instructor over there while I was training.

And now always tempted with my right foot, to push the brake pedal.

- Actually, you know-

- Yeah?

- Now that you say that, I have my foot-

- Your foot on- over the brake pedal.

Even though I'm driving with hand controls, I'm keeping my foot over the brake in case I make a mistake.

- And what my instructor says, he's watching me.

He says, "You do that one more time, I'll tie your foot to the seat."

Driving in Residential Areas with Hand Controls

- And I'll give you lots of warning.

It's always straight unless we ask, Mr. Student.

So let's see how Rick does here with signaling.

- Oh, this first left.

So he signals left, shoulder check to his left.

Make sure no Pokemons are there.

Starting May 31st, where there's no yellow lines-

- [Rick] Okay.

- [Nelson] Speed zones will be 40 kilometers.

- [Rick] Oh, interesting.

Speeds in Calgary's residential areas are now 40kph (25mph) as of May 2021.

- [Nelson] Yeah.

- But we're in a park zone right now, 'cause that sign back there said it was a playground.

So, and playground here.

-And a playground here.

- [Rick] Yeah, so right here.

- I'm just not used to instruct a pro.

So here we could take Deerfoot south, so you'll have to change lanes.

So Rick- - [Rick] Oh yeah.

- [Nelson] is going to signal, another mirror, mirror, shoulder check.

I watch a lot of his videos so I got a pretty good idea of how he does it.

Mile markers tell you where you are along the road. They are help tool to be a better defensive driver.

What the Heck are Mile Markers?

All right, Rick.

So you see on top of Barlowe Trail, the sign that says exit 240?

- Yep, the mile marker?

- You got me already.

All right, you got it.

Most people don't know this.

Kids, you know I'm, I tell them we're 240 kilometers from the border.

- [Rick] Yep, okay.

So, is zero the border, then?

In Calgary, when travelling north-south, the mile markers are the distance you are from the Canadian-American border.

- [Nelson] Zero would be the border.

- [Rick] Okay.

Government Assistance for Driver's with Disabilities

- So with 1% of the population being physically disabled, apparently 75% of that 1% is on the Age Program where they receive some government aid.

How about if we pull over Rick and use the left gas pedal now.

Yeah, I'm so glad I got into this part of the business, of driver education.

Government and other assistance programs provide grants and money for drivers with disabilities to fit their vehicle with hand controls.

- [Rick] Yeah.

- [Nelson] Working with, disabled, physically disabled people.

- Yeah.

- They seem like they really enjoy it.

They really appreciate it, and that- Wrong pedal, Rick?

- Yeah.

Thank you Nelson Chateauneuf of Southtrail Driving school for making this video possible.

- Wrong pedal.

Okay, like I said, it would take me a couple of days to-

- Power off-

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