Automobility Pedal Extenders
MPD Pedal Extenders
Pedal Extenders are intended to provide drivers whose legs are too short to reach the gas and brake pedals the opportunity to drive a car or van. Pedal extenders not only make it easier for short legged people to drive but they also help prevent injuries from air bag deployment.
Because airbags are mounted in steering wheels on most vehicles they present a danger to drivers who have to sit too close in order to reach the pedals. Air bags have been known to cause injuries and deaths when they deploy and the driver is too close to the steering wheel.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that there should be no less than 10" from the chest of the driver to the steering wheel air bag cover. They recommend this be accomplished by adjusting seat position, back angle and steering wheel tilt.
Pedal extensions are being recommended by many safety professionals as a way to increase your distance from the air bag module and enhance your safety.
How Pedal Extensions Work
Almost all of the pedal extender systems on the market involve some type of clamping arrangement to secure the extensions to the existing pedals.
The extensions include a new gas and brake pedal that are used by the driver when driving. When installed the amount of extension can be adjusted to fit the driver and when adjusted properly will be as safe and functional as the original vehicle equipment.
Pedal Extenders versus Hand Controls
Although some models of pedal extenders allow for a lot of extension it might be safer for the driver to use hand controls for driving if the extension have to be extended too far. Pedal extenders are designed for those whose legs are a bit short to reach not a lot too short to reach.
Another case for hand controls over pedal extenders would be cases where multiple drivers use the same vehicle. Unless all the drivers have the same length legs pedal extenders will be a problem for other drivers and even though some types of pedal extenders are quick release, who wants to have to remove them and replace them every time the driver changes. When hand controls are installed they do not prevent drivers who can reach the pedals from driving the vehicle.
Most wheelchair vendors and home health care stores should be able to order pedal extenders for your vehicle. The two systems pictured above are common versions available and your vendor should be able to direct you to which is best for your situation.
Please note that some jurisdictions may require a road test by the user using the pedal extenders before being legally allowed drive. Check with your local ministry of transportation for more information.