Hi everyone so not sure if there are any other arm amputees here like myself, but I figured I’d ask this question anyway so basically I lost my right arm at birth (my dominant hand) and therefore can only use my left. Now the problem is when I drive it’s hard to keep the wheel straight, because I’m driving one handed. Does anyone have any tips on how I can improve my driving? My mom and I are gonna go to this place to see about getting my car retro fitted to suit my needs but it’s a bit of distance, so is there anything I can do in the meantime?
Hi, flamey! I became a high-level right-arm amputee just before learning to drive some 45+ years ago. The only problem* I have ever had with steering went away as soon as power steering became available; I've never had a problem keeping the wheel straight using just my left (non-dominant) hand--I usually keep it lightly on the steering wheel at 7 o'clock when driving on straight roads, like highways. Are you sure there's not something wrong with the vehicle? Maybe it needs a wheel alignment or something. Have you had the same problem driving other cars? I don't know any unilateral arm amps who have needed to make modifications to their vehicles, so perhaps it's just a matter of getting the hang of it.
*I only weighed 85 lbs** (39 kg) and wasn't strong enough to turn the wheel unless the car was moving.
This thread is sort of old so you are likely long gone, flamey, but if you do see this: I have a high left-side arm amp, nothing left there I can use to help steer, so it's all in my right arm. I can drive a regular car, but feel more confident driving my own car, which as two modifications to it -- a spinner knob and a turn signal cross-over. I don't know what the admin rules are on this forum about posting links to products you can but on line, but you can find both on line, not very expensive. Since you still have your left hand, you won't have any use for the cross-over lever (unless you are driving in the UK!). As for the spinner knob, I find it useful. I can get a better purchase on the steering wheel, and it's much easier when I need to turn the steering wheel more than just a few degrees one side or the other. When I was a teenager, the spinner knobs were called "necking knobs" I think because the idea was you could have one hand on the wheel and one hand draped over the shoulders of your date (back then, there were these things called "bench seats" that made that seating arrangement possible.) The spinner knobs you buy online are not as high quality as the ones you could get installed for you in a car garage that specializes in disability adaptions, but the online ones are are much cheaper. I ended up going with the professionally installed one -- once it's installed you can readily click the knob in and out of the permanently attached mount. That way, my wife can drive the same car as I do, without having the knob get in her way. If I'm driving a longish way, I will sometimes rest my hand for a few minutes by setting the steering wheel where I want it, then lifting my knee up against the lower part of the steering wheel. I can make little adjustments and stay in my lane as long as the road is basically straight. Don't do this in traffic, or if there are pedestrians around! Also, I'll echo what snowy said -- if you're constantly having to push one way on the steering wheel just to got straight, you might need to get your car aligned. That will reduce your long term steering effort and maybe make your tires last longer, too.