Medical Driving Evaluations

Adaptive Driving Equipment | The Left Foot Accelerator Pedal

Posted by Joan Cramer on Jun 10, 2021 1:03:27 PM
Joan Cramer
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Cars are the most common method of transportation in the United States, and it’s easy to forget exactly how complicated their operation can be. Between audio and visual cues, and using both hands and sometimes both feet, there’s a lot to handle on the road. 

 

For people who are living with some type of visual, cognitive, or physical limitations, this can make driving challenging, but not impossible. 

 

Thanks to modern adaptive driving equipment, it’s possible to overcome almost any challenge you might have and set out capably to enjoy the freedom of the open road. 

 

In this article, we’ll be exploring left foot accelerator pedals. We’ll talk about which challenges might require left foot accelerators, how they work, how they can be adjusted to you, and how you can use them to regain the ability to drive safely.

Making It Easier to Access Brake Pedal and Gas Pedal

Two of the most important functions of a car are the brake pedal and gas pedal. After all, a car’s not very useful if it doesn’t stop and go!

 

But any number of challenges can limit your ability to use factory-standard gas and brake pedals. 

 

For example, if you’ve had a stroke affecting the use of your right leg, ankle, and/or foot, you may need an alternative method to operate gas and brake. This is especially true if your right hand is also impaired. 

 

This challenge may also arrive if you are an amputee, or living with a prosthetic leg or foot. 

 

In essence, any injury or condition that affects the normal operation of your right foot may require some adaptive equipment.

How A Left Foot Accelerator Pedal Helps

A left foot accelerator is primarily used in these situations when a person has experienced a traumatic or medical condition that results in limited right foot function but leaves the left foot/leg unaffected.  

 

In essence, a left foot accelerator is a very, very simple device that moves control of the gas pedal to the left of the brake, making it easier to drive using only your left foot.

 

Customizing to Your Unique Situation

PC: Mobility Engineering

The design of a left-foot accelerator pedal depends on the design of your car. For example, in an older car that uses a mechanical pedal, the original gas pedal is flipped up out of the way, blocked with a plate, or removed.

 

With newer cars, it’s possible to implement an electronic left foot accelerator, and then simply have your mechanic disconnect the control to the right foot accelerator (or remove it).

How Do You Get A Left Foot Accelerator?

All adaptive driving devices are prescribed by Certified Driver Rehabilitation specialists, who can create a prescription for your specific device. Then, a vendor can follow this prescription to install the correct device.

 

With a left-foot accelerator, this is usually a somewhat simple assessment and installation. However, there are a few obstacles to be aware of when learning to drive with a left-foot accelerator!

 

For a person born with limited right foot function, learning to drive with this device is not complex since it is the same as learning to drive with your right foot.  However, if you’ve spent most of your life driving with your right foot, it can take some time to relearn to use your left.

 

Fortunately, though, your Certified Driver Rehabilitation specialist will be able to guide you every step of the way as you get comfortable on the road. Then, finally, you’ll have to work with your CDRS and the DMV to get recertified to drive.

 

Taking the Next Step | The Next Street Approach

Here at The Next Street Driver Rehab, we’ll start your journey back to the road with a comprehensive clinical assessment to understand you and your exact physical, cognitive, and visual challenges.

 

This helps make sure that, apart from needing a left-foot accelerator, you are safe and confident on the road. Then, the next step is to help you start training! We usually start training around your home and in familiar places, and then expand your range — just like learning to drive again!

 

Then, once you’re comfortable with your ability behind the wheel, our instructors can help you make the transition to getting safely certified on the road. 

 

This process can include guiding you through DMV criteria for adaptive equipment use, writing prescriptions for your specific vehicle modifications, and assisting you in preparation for any tests you may have to pass. 

 

No matter what your unique challenges, we’re dedicated to helping you safely and confidently gain the freedom of the open road.

 

If you’d like to learn more or schedule an initial free consultation, you can reach out to us at our Consultation Homepage or at 860-483-7009.

 

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Driving is Important

We Are Here to Keep You Safe Behind the Wheel

Our Driver Rehabilitation program works with patients whose change in health may affect their ability to safely drive. We have a team of Certified Driving Rehab Specialists that will work with patients on evaluating your driving abilities. We also have a team of professional instructors to help you gain or regain the skills you need to drive. We created this blog to talk about the various diagnoses we experience and how they may affect your experience behind the wheel. 

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