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mike

Driving as a Bi-lat, how do you do it?

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I was reading Neal's topic on driving with a manual transmission and wondered how other people in my situation manage.

I'm a Bi-lat BK of 3 years and got back to work as a sales rep 9 months after amputation. I now drive an automatic with hand controls. I was told by the DVLA in the UK that this was a legal requirement. I drive around 30000 miles a year and find using the hand controls very comfortable.

I have tried using my feet but find the constant lifiting from the gas pedal to the brake tiresome and uncomfortable.

I would like to just use my feet but as stated above I don't find it practical. Do I have to practice more and it will become more natural or do you think the amount of miles that I do I will just find it too tireing.

I'm just interested to see how others cope.

Best wishes Mike.

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Hi Mike

Like you, I drive an automatic transmission with hand-controls. I looked into driving a manual transmission a while ago and discovered that if you do a bit of searching, you can get hand-controls for manual transmission too. The only problem I found, was that I'd have to learn to drive a manual transmission and then (re)take my driving test. :ph34r:

But, now I've decided that I much prefer driving an automatic with hand-controls. I find the beauty of 'the set-up' is that I can drive my car with or without 'legs'. B)

Lizzie :)

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I have tried using my feet but find the constant lifiting from the gas pedal to the brake tiresome and uncomfortable.

I would like to just use my feet but as stated above I don't find it practical. Do I have to practice more and it will become more natural or do you think the amount of miles that I do I will just find it too tireing.

I'm just interested to see how others cope.

Hi Mike

I also drive an automatic car with hand controls, I have always driven with hand controls so to me it is quite normal, and as Lizzie says, you can drive with or without legs.

Initially, I also tried learning to drive with the foot pedals in a dual control car with instructor, but found it didn't really work, as you say it is tiring to have to keep lifting the foot. This was over 30 years ago and there was very little info. out there for disabled drivers, so for me, and my instructor, learning to drive was a bit of trial and error.

I was then told by the DVLA that they wouldn't allow me to drive using the prosthesis, that I was required to use hand controls, and this is stipulated on my driving licence. Don't mean to discourage you, but think you could be on dodgy ground driving with your limbs on the road if you were to be involved in accident. As Lizzie says, you can nowadays get hand controls to drive manual cars.

Ann

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Hi Mike,

As you know I'm a BBK like you. I drive an automatic without hand controls. In rehab, they put me in a car set up with hand controls & to be honest....I never intended on trying them in the real world. One night I found myself in a position of NEEDING to drive home. Hadn't tried driving a car until that night, but there I was. So, I got in the driver seat & off I went. Never looked back & have never had any problems with driving with my legs. I don't find it tiresmome transferring from the brake to the gas. The only time it was a concern is when they wanted me to wear the Harmony system. I found them way too heavy for my short residual limbs to drive in. So I refused using that system. Otherwise, I can drive any car like anyone else. I don't reccommend the way I first tried it, but then again there's a lot of things I have done that I can't reccommend. :P

Whatever floats your boat...happy driving guys!

Linda

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... you could be on dodgy ground driving with your limbs on the road

Sounds like a Flintsones car :)

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Hi Mike

I'm a Right BK, but that doesn't really matter in this case, because my left (good) leg just sits there and goes along for the ride. My right, (prosthetic) leg does all of the work, just like it did when I had two good legs. The only difference is that the fulcrum is in my knee and not in my ankle. I put the heel of my foot on the accelerator, to drive, but the flat of my shoe on the brake.

I also use my left leg to brake, when I'm lazy, and take my prosthetic off the accelorator and rest it on the floor board until I need it again. I do this also when out on the freeway, and am on cruize control.

I can't imagine using hand controls or left hand accelorator extensions. I learned to drive at 12, and lost my leg at 52, so that is 40 years learning to do it one way. I didn't want to retrain to another since I didn't have to. I can "feel" everything through my prosthesis just as much as I could "feel" it through my shoe. This is just a longer shoe - that's all.

I drive in hilly city traffic, or winding country roads. The High Sierra"s, or the L.A. Freeway. I pulled about 6 trailer loads from California to Missouri when we moved out here, and some of those over the Rocky Mountains through Colorado.

All of my cars are automatic, but when I do drive a stick shift, it just means that my left leg has to go to worlk. I drive cars, trucks tractors and backhoes with this prosthesis and don't know any difference.

I just never told myself that I couldn't do it. When I have had to have my leg off, I rested my stump on the console, and crossed my left leg over to drive. Absolutely - no problem. I pulled a camping trailer all the way around California to Texas and back this way, because I had so many sores on my stump during the early years.

It's amazing what we can do, when we don't tell ourselves we can't

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Hi Linda & Jim

I think whether you drive with or without hand controls seems to depend upon which country you learnt to drive in and when you learnt to drive. Different countries have different driving regulations...and I think Ann and I must have learnt to drive about the same time. :unsure:

Also, my driving arrangement was suggested/advised by the rehabilitation consultant at my local limb centre. At the time, I couldn't lift my AK thigh (I still can't, as I have no functioning quads)...and the consultant didn't expect me to keep my surviving knee much past the age of 30 (how wrong some people can be :rolleyes:)...so, the best solution for me was to have hand controls, as they thought I would eventually become a double AK.

I personally, love being able to drive without my legs. It means that if my legs are absolutely killing me, I can take them off and still drive (I still have my freedom B)), long journeys are more easily manageable and if I have orthopaedic surgery on my legs I can start driving again very quickly. :D

With most things in life, it's probably 'horses for courses'.

Lizzie :)

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It's amazing what we can do, when we don't tell ourselves we can't

Agree Jim but think there are probably different rules (or restrictions) made by the DVLA for driving over here in the UK.

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@ mike

i have no idea about your car, but i have a friend, who has also a car with hand controls. this controls need not to be used, because the foot pedals are all there and so the car can be used as a normal automatic car.

maybe a chance to get some training, that you can drive also a normal automatic car?

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I learned to drive at a very young age and and began driving as a rbk amp at age 57. I didn't find it a problem to drive with a left foot adaptor. I didn't find it a problem to drive with my left foot without an adaptor. Just decided it would be safer with one. I did, however, find it a problem to drive with my amp foot. I'm glad you can do it. Not everybody can.. It's not ALWAYS a matter of mind over matter

I, myself, am thankful there are options..

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Lizzie, Ann and Marcia. I apologize for the tone of arrogance. I went 17 years without talking to any other amputees, and just accepted that the way that I do things was, (or should be), normal for all amputees.

Of course it is not.

I do try however to give some inspiration to those who are unsure of what they can do. Others, such as yourself who have different needs and requirements than I may have definitely given me an education.

My postings are never meant to advice or dictate, but to rather share what works for me, and to encourage newcomers to our "club", to try. That is all. My personality is: "Damn the torpedoes - full speed ahead", (with a hint of caution as I matured). Like my quote at the bottom: "Yes, I can do it - now what is the question"

Thank you for correcting me.

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Jim, as you may remember, I'm a RBK. I did try driving my husband's automatic using my left foot. I found this extremely uncomfortable -- the stretch over to reach the gas pedal I mean.

Now, I only tried this once and it was only a 5 mile drive (an experiment!), but I really don't think I could drive any distance in comfort this way.

My question is: Did you experiment and scoot over to get more comfy? My *(^&%$^ disability income folks are supposed to be putting in a left foot accelerator for me (so they can kick me off their "dole" of course!), but they sure are taking their sweet time.

I've only driven once since April 4, 2005!! And I'm really getting irate at being "stuck" like this!!

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Regulations........I have a restriction on my license. It requires that I am wearing my prosthetics if I'm driving. :blink: Not using hand controls......is there a real need for such a restriction??? duh?????

I agree with Jim. You're a pretty profound person. I, personaly, don't read any arrogance in your posts. You're who you are & you're not shy about it. As for me, I was 20 at the time. I needed to get home so I got into the driver seat & never thought about it. Like the saying...Mind over matter. If you don't mind it doesn't matter! :P At the time it didn't matter & now I don't mind. :D

It's a matter of personal prefernce. Do what works for you & what you're comfortable in doing. :)

Linda

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Thank you Sanicki Shyness is not an attribute that normally is asscciated with me. Like my favorite cartoon character Popeye likes to say: "I yam whats I yam" Or to quote another generation: "What you see is what you get". :P :P :P

Just a note here Marilyn. I haven't driven without my leg in years, because I don't have the sores anymore. I drive all the way to California, (from Missouri) and back with my prosthesis on without any problem. Back when I had to take it off however, I would sit a little sideways, (More with my left buttock forward), and put my stump on the console and then drive with my left.

With my prosthesis on though, I put my heel up on the accelorator, (a little higher than where my good foot would have gone), and use my knee to push in, or let out. When I am slowing down, I step my foot (prosthetic), back and rest it on the floor board inches away from the accelorator. I use my left leg mainly for the brake. Just like I used to with a stick shift. When I do drive a stick shift, (seldom any more), then of course, I use my right, (prosthetic) leg to brake with.

Personally, I prefer using my good, (left) leg to bake with. It is just a matter of habit.

:lol: :lol: Like Sanicki say's. It's just a matter of ..... mind over matter. If you think that you can do it..... well, you can. Like anything, it get's more comfortable with time and practice. To me, it is just as easy to learn one way as it is another, so why not learn the way that will be most normal? If you only learn with adapters, then you will be relegated to only cars with adapters. Or at the best, only comfortable with adapted cars.

Anyway, that's my take on it. I started out 18 years ago trying to do everything the old way, and then let myself find out where I absolutely had to change. I didn't pre-judge anything. There was nothing that I couldn't do..... and, I still think that way.

An amputee friend of mine lost his leg in the last stages of WWII, but still jumped with the 101st airborne in Korea. My car broke down on the highway in California once, and the highway patrolman that stopped to help was an AK.

There absolutely is no rule that say's that we CAN'T do something. We all have to find our own niche.

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Well Jim, I've learned to do lots of things since becoming an amp... things I never thought I'd be able to do. Why just a month ago, I'd use a walker in the yard and now I just walk on over that rough ground with nuttin' but my prosthesis.

I guarantee, I'll be driving one way or the other!!

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PS today I'll be spreading mulch over one flowerbed... whoo hoo!

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I guarantee, I'll be driving one way or the other!!

I have absolutely no doubt that you will. Go for it!!

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Marilyn, I got tired of waiting for the state to fund my left foot accelerator and went ahead and had it done myself. Best $250 I ever spent! The first time I drove off by myself I was using the left foot crossover method. and, girl, I felt like I'd been let out of jail! After that, there was no stopping me. Hope you get to driving real soon.

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PS today I'll be spreading mulch over one flowerbed... whoo hoo!

The driving's not that scarey ... honest :D

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The driving's not that scarey ... honest :D

I learned to drive on the Ford tractors on the ranch, and then the ones in our lumber yard. Later on the Old Diamond T lumber trucks, taking a load of lumber down the coast to Malibu when they were beginning to build what is now mostly celebrity homes along the beach. No power steering or brakes, and definitely no cruize control.

The first time I got in a car with power steering, I didn't like it. I didn't feel that I had control of the wheel. The same with the power brakes. Worse yet however, was the first time I drove a car with cruize control. It felt like a runaway train. I wasn't frightened as such, but the word "aprehensive" does come into my mind.

The same thing when I used my first electric typewriter. I had learned on a 1953 Royal manual (Which model I still own and use occasionally by the way). The electric was too light on the fingers. And I used to be a sales rep. for them, (Underwood).

It's all the same. Anything new takes some getting used to. Nothing will feel comfortable at the beginning. The easiest way at first is not necessarily the best in the long run. My only suggestion is that whatever way you choose, it is going to take getting used to. I can understand a right AKA needing an accelorator extension, but not a right BKA. But that is just my take on it.

Someone once told me a humorous way of looking at things. He said: " That is why God made Blondes, Brunettes and Redheads. So that we could all have choices". That's one way of looking at it.

It isn't what is right for everyone else - It's, what is right for you?

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@ mike

i have no idea about your car, but i have a friend, who has also a car with hand controls. this controls need not to be used, because the foot pedals are all there and so the car can be used as a normal automatic car.

maybe a chance to get some training, that you can drive also a normal automatic car?

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Sorry, meant to have said something in the above, couldn't work out the quote bit.

Anyway, my car is totally useable by anyone as the pedals have not been affected.

Thanks to everyone who has replied.

I think I will stick to using the hand controls, just feels safer.

Mike.

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I think I will stick to using the hand controls, just feels safer.

Mike.

That sure sounds like the right decision Mike. Why? Because it is yours.

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PS today I'll be spreading mulch over one flowerbed... whoo hoo!

The driving's not that scarey ... honest :D

Yeah, for most people spreading mulch is like a punishment! :blink: But this is recreation for me...

But YES! I have to get my butt in gear (literally!) and drive.

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I'm a Bilat below knee and I drive a normal manual car. When I asked the DVLA they said that there was no requirements. I did my test the first time and I didnt say I was disabled, I failed and the examiner recommeneded that I said that I was a disabled driver next time around. This I did. I dont think it changed the way in which they examined me, but it did make them aware.

I am actually hoping to get a automatic car in the future, but thats jst because I am lazy.

andy

x

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