What a knob!
Many people over the years have tried a variety of things to make their driving easier. The automakers brought in power steering and power brakes decades ago so drivers could brake and steer with much more ease. More electronic devices have been made readily available over the past decade to help drivers maneuver their vehicle with ease as well. But every now and then, we find things that drivers used years ago to help them that driver have now placed on newer vehicles. The spinner knob seems to have made its return.
Back in the 1950’s you would find these devices on many a vehicle. With manual steering, the spinner knob made it easier to turn the steering wheel, or so we thought. Today, you may find these on large trucks and construction vehicles so the driver could steer with ease, especially while trying to back up a trailer. You would also find updated versions of this on vehicles where the driver has either one usable hand or reduced use of their limbs. Having hand controls readily available now makes it easier for drivers with disabilities to get around.
For drivers that have the ability to steer with both hands, it’s better if they remove the spinner knob. The spinner knob doesn’t allow the driver to feel the steering quite as well compared to having two hands on the wheel. For drivers that also use two hands to steer with, the spinner knob can get in the way if they let the wheel slide through their fingers on the recovery. The knob can hit their hands causing the recovery to become jerky and momentary loss of steering control.
So who can get a spinner knob? In most jurisdictions you need either government approval or medical approval to get a spinner knob or any other hand controls. Other than this, licensed driving instructors and driver rehabilitation specialists can also get these put into their vehicles to help those in need. At Young Drivers of Canada, we have a number of instructor vehicles with full hand controls such as hand control gas and brake and also left foot gas pedals; not just spinner knobs. We use them with novice drivers and also licensed drivers who need to be taught how to use them. These are drivers who need these devices and not just want them.
I’ve heard of drivers who fumble with the steering wheel while driving. Their mobility with their arms or hands has decreased significantly over the years. Perhaps they weren’t aware of the spinner knob or any other devices to help drivers in need. If you know someone who may benefit from hand controls, ask them to speak with their family doctor or a specialist. They aren’t as expensive no as they were ten or so years ago. Search around your area for a hand control supplier and installer if you are in need or know someone who is.
Perhaps they can also get the training they require to learn how to use these devices to help them stay in control of their vehicle. Staying in control and keeping their mobility is important to many people. After all, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?