I love to drive. I drive with hand controls and after I became paralyzed, getting the freedom back to be able to drive was beyond exciting! My hubby loves to read and I get carsick if I try to read while we travel so I get bored. I drive most of the time and he reads. That makes us both very happy.
The other night, we had an appointment in another town and the route there is through a state park and is very curvy and hilly. It was already dark outside so headlights were on and we were off! Only if you drive with hand controls will you probably understand what I am about to describe but if you drive “normal” hang with me. The hand control lever controls the gas and brake and is lower than the turn signal/light dimmer switch. You control the hand lever with one hand and you steer the wheel with the other hand. This works out fine until you need your hands for something else…like answering the cell phone, handing something to a kid, or dimming your head lights!
I have learned to dim my lights when I am just accelerating with my index fingertip stretching out, but when I am braking my finger won’t reach it. We were driving along, I was in the middle of a steep hill that had a giant curve at the bottom, I had my lights on bright because is is very dark through those woods, and here comes a car meeting me right in that curve. He started flashing his lights at me like a wild man to let me know I was blinding him!! I knew I was but I couldn’t do anything about it! If I let go of my brake, we wouldn’t take the curve without wrecking into him and I couldn’t reach the dimmer switch!
As he drove by me, part of me wanted to roll down my window and yell, “I’m sorry!!! I have hand controls!!!” and the other part of me was glad it was dark and he wouldn’t be able to identify the rude driver that just blinded him and made him mad.
I immediately thought that this is how it is when we are misunderstood and let’s have a little personal confession time…when we judge others. The driver of that car did not see or know my predicament. He had no clue I was paralyzed and used hand controls to drive. He did not know that I sincerely wished I could have dimmed my lights but just couldn’t. He didn’t know. All he knew was that I was blinding him and he didn’t like it!
It was a lesson about hand controls the Lord used in my heart. Maybe when someone judges me and they don’t know my heart or the whole story, or maybe when I am aggravated at someone and I don’t know their heart, I will just go take another drive….at dark…headlights on…through the hills…with my hand controls.
Only if you are really interested (or bored), here is a video of my hand controls.
One thought on “The Hand Control Lesson”
Hi Rue, I also drive a Sienna but use a Wells/Engberg rotary hand control. I have used their controls for my entire 50 years of driving handicapped. I have the same problem that you describe and also for using turn indicators. It is virtually impossible to use the turn indicators when changing lanes and merging into traffic. I’m not clear on what Louisiana law states about using turn indicators but have heard they are required when changing lanes and passing. I haven’t been stopped yet but have been working on my excuse if I am ever stopped.