Hand controls offer a mechanical or electrical means of controlling an automatic vehicle without the use of the drivers legs. There are many differing types and manufacturers with the best being simple and light to operate, discreet and offering some form of impact protection. Hand controls are operated by pulling the operating lever to accelerate and pushing the control away to brake. they can be fitted with secondary control functions to operate indicators, Dip/main beam, horn etc as required. Total or partial electronic systems are available which operate in a similar fashion but these come at a considerable cost.
Mechanical hand controls are made of a steel bar and tube construction, usually mounted on a pivot bracket mounted high on the steering column cowling. Rods or cables are connected between the operating lever and the vehicle pedals. Operating handles differ in shape, design and size depending on the manufacturer and most are covered with a tactile rubber grip. Impact protection when provided is of a Polyurethane / foam moulding designed to protect the knees in the event of a vehicle collision. Electronic systems can be mounted in the vehicle wherever the user requires and can be operated by a hand lever, steering wheel mounted ring or finger operated trigger. There are no mechanical connections between the electronic device and the the vehicle, normally the electronic system is directly integrated into the vehicles wiring and microprocessor systems transmit information to the vehicle. Braking with electronic systems is achieved with electronic motors or a hybrid system with an electronic accelerator and mechanical brake in the case of a steering wheel mounted ring.