Most vehicles are built to ideally suit people within a specific height range. But that doesn’t mean that people outside of that height range can’t successfully and safely drive a car (like the famous examples of actor Verne Troyer and basketball player Shaquille O’Neal).
In this article, we’ll be exploring pedal extensions, a valuable tool for any driver with short stature. We’ll talk about why they’re necessary, how they can be adjusted to you, and how to get these helpful tools installed and certified.
How Pedal Extensions Help
There are four reasons why people with short stature should use pedal extensions to help reach the gas and brake pedal:
The first is maintaining a proper line of sight. If you’re not tall enough to reach the pedals and also see over the dashboard, driving can be dangerous
The second is alignment with the steering wheel. It’s important to be able to manipulate the steering wheel with a full range of motion, which can be difficult if you’re not properly aligned.
The third is comfort. On longer car rides, ensuring that you’re comfortable and properly supported prevents mid-drive exhaustion, as well as soreness and other posture problems.
And the final reason is safety. Many cars have steering-wheel-mounted airbags. If you’re sitting too close, these airbags can be harmful in a crash.
Customizing to Your Unique Situation
Pedal extensions can be customized to your unique height and body type so that you’re in the ideal position behind the steering wheel.
First, this means having a proper line of sight over the dashboard and to either side.
The next is to make sure that you have proper alignment with the steering wheel, with your arms extended to make turns as needed.
Next, most experts recommend positioning pedal extensions to allow for 10-11 inches between your chest and the steering wheel for safety in the case of a crash.
And finally, these extensions should let you sit comfortably in your seat!
How Do I Get Pedal Extensions?
Pedal extensions are best installed by a reliable and trained professional since many devices on the market are not safe or made of good quality material.
A trained professional can help ensure that the material of the pedal extension is appropriate for the surface of the original pedal to prevent sliding, and will also be sure to include safety features like a foot platform to provide stability while driving.
Many state DMVs also require extra certification if you’re going to be using pedal extensions (or any other form of modified vehicles), which is another reason why it’s good to work with an expert.
For these situations, we recommend working with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist. Not only will they be able to prescribe you a perfectly customized set of pedal extensions, but they’ll also be able to guide you every step of the way as you get certified with your new equipment.
Taking the Next Step | The Next Street Approach
Here at The Next Street Driver Rehab, we always start with a comprehensive clinical assessment, so that we can understand your exact situation.
In most cases, requiring pedal extensions can be straightforward, but this assessment will help you understand any other visual, cognitive, or physical challenges you might face on the road.
Then, after helping you select the right pedal extensions for you, our certified experts can help you start training in familiar areas around the home, and then on the open road.
Finally, our instructors can guide you through your state’s process for getting recertified with your new adaptive equipment. This can include helping you train for tests and making sure that you’re an expert with your new pedal extensions.
Then you’ll have the ability to drive freely, and be ready to hit the 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.