Gas ring or hand controls, what will work best for me?

The text "Gas ring vs. Hand controls" superimposed over the photo of a steering wheel with a Gas ring on the left and a set of hand controls to the right.

When it comes to accessibility solutions for vehicles there are a lot of different products. Some of these products provide different solutions to the same issue. In certain cases, your abilities dictate why you would choose one solution over another but that’s not always the case.

For a driver with disabilities, choosing the best way to control the accelerator and brake is essential. Whether you drive from your wheelchair or make a transfer to the seat, you will need some way to operate the foot pedals i.e. the brake and accelerator. In this article, we will compare two common solutions for wheelchair drivers, the gas ring and hand controls. We look at their differences and similarities with the hope to help you decide what would work best for you.  

Left: A gas ring below the steering wheel. Right: A gas ring above the steering wheel.
© Photos by Kivi Mobility

Gas ring 

This device has the same functionality as the accelerator pedal but in the form of a slim ring that sits slightly above or below the steering wheel. Pushing, or rather squeezing, the ring closer to the steering wheel makes the car accelerate. The solution allows you to constantly keep two hands on the wheel.

Although, it doesn't force you to use two hands. Engaging the gas ring does not require much force and can easily be done with one hand. This means that it’s quite possible for you to temporarily let go with one hand and to adjust the radio or ACC.

Another benefit of the ring shape is that it allows you to have your hands anywhere on the steering wheel. In other words, you can change grip to prevent fatigue. 

As the gas ring only controls the acceleration, operating the brake needs to be handled by something else. If you have left foot functionality, it can be operated via the original pedal. It can also be relocated to a brake ring, on the opposite side of the gas ring. The third alternative for the brake could be a hand control lever.


  • Enables you to keep both hands on the wheel while driving. 
  • +  Keeps your hands in reach of turn indicators and wipers etc. 
  • +  Ring shape lets you change your grip 
  • +  Installation is often completely reversible. 
  • +  Does not hinder the use of the accelerator or brake pedals 


  • Requires separate control for the brake, either as a lever or another ring. 
  • -  Requires the car to have an automatic transmission.

Left: A set of hand controls. Right: A hand holding on to a set of hand controls.

Hand controls

A set of hand controls will enable the use of both the gas pedal and the brake pedal via a lever with push/pull functionality. Meaning you have both gas and brake in the same lever. Not all hand controls are the same, but many are designed with pull for acceleration and push to brake.

Some models come with a function that allows you to lock the lever in its current position. This can be used as a sort of cruise control feature if you want to free up the hand to access other functions in the car.  

With one hand on the hand controls, it will be impossible for you to reach some of the auxiliary controls such as turn indicators and windshield wipers. To avert this problem, most hand controls have one or more buttons on the handle that can be wired for these functions.

To facilitate one-handed steering it is very common to combine hand controls with a steering device and lightened power steering.   


  • +  One lever operates both gas and brake. 
  • +  Installation is often completely reversible. 
  • +  Does not hinder the use of the accelerator or brake pedals 
  • +  Some hand controls include extra functionalities e.g windshield wipers etc.  


  • One hand occupied for the hand controls. 
  • -  Requires the car to have an automatic transmission


One should keep in mind, that the gas ring and the hand controls replace the functionality of the accelerator and/or the brake pedal but not the clutch. As such, they both require your car to have automatic transmission. In similarity, neither the gas ring nor the hand controls hinder the use of the pedals. In other words, you could share your car with someone that does not require these accessibility adaptations to drive.  

There really is no such thing as a good or bad choice when it comes to using a gas ring or a set of hand controls. To get a feel for what type of adaptations would suit you best we suggest getting a driving assessment or visiting a wheelchair adaptation specialist where you can try both solutions.

Both solutions are widely used and well-proven as replacements for the pedals. However, local legislation might favour one over the other. Your vehicle adaptation specialist will know what applies where you live.  

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