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Things to Consider When Buying a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
Wheelchair accessible vehicles allow more comfort and convenience for passengers who use a wheelchair. When using a regular vehicle, a wheelchair needs to be lifted into the car, which may be difficult as they can be extremely heavy. The wheelchair user may also be forced to get in and out of their wheelchair, which can be both stressful and uncomfortable, particularly if their mobility is limited.
However, with many WAVs, the wheelchair can simply be pushed into the rear of the car with the passenger still seated, meaning there’s no need for any heavy lifting and the passenger never needs to leave the comfort of their wheelchair. This makes travelling by car much less stressful for both the driver and the passenger.
A wheelchair accessible vehicle can remove much of the difficulties of car travel, but there are still a number of considerations you should make before purchasing your vehicle. Depending on your needs, some adapted cars will be more suitable than others, so to make sure you choose the right one for you, here’s what you should look out for when purchasing an adapted vehicle.
What type of vehicle do you need?
There’s a wide range of wheelchair accessible vehicles, which can make choosing the right one confusing. You should base your choice on your needs and level of mobility. Here are the most common wheelchair accessible cars currently on the market.
Cars fitted with a ramp allow your wheelchair to be pushed into the vehicle and fixed into your seating position securely, meaning you can travel without leaving the comfort of your wheelchair. One thing to consider is where you want your seating position to be as it might be more difficult to communicate with the driver, depending on where your wheelchair is placed. This type of WAV is for those with limited mobility.
This could simply be a large MVP (multi-purpose vehicle) that you can use to store the wheelchair in the rear of the vehicle. This is one of the most common types of WAVs, but these require the passenger to have enough mobility to get in and out of the wheelchair to sit in the passenger seat, so this type may be unsuitable for some.
This will be fitted with an electric or hydraulic hoist, which can be operated from inside the car. Again, this type of car requires the wheelchair user to have enough mobility to get out of the chair and into the front seat so it might not be the best choice for everyone, but if you or your driver struggle to lift the heavy chair into the car then this can help take the load off your hands.
Some types of wheelchair accessible vehicles allow you to store your wheelchair in a specially-designed box. A hoist operated from inside the vehicle will lift the wheelchair into the box for safe and convenient storage. This is another type of adapted vehicle that would suit someone able to get into the seat themselves but who struggles with the lifting of the wheelchair.
If you thought wheelchair-users were restricted to being the passenger, think again! As technology advances, so do the types of vehicles offered for wheelchair users and there are cars on the market that have been adapted to allow wheelchair users to operate the vehicle themselves.
Size of the vehicle
When you’re looking for the perfect WAV, you need to make sure the size is right. Check the vehicle is large enough to accommodate your wheelchair and affords adequate space to ensure a comfortable ride. Be mindful of the size of your drive too. WAVs may be larger than other vehicles, so you don’t want to get your shiny new vehicle home only to discover it doesn’t fit on the drive!
Performance and fuel efficiency
Larger vehicles will obviously weigh more, so in some cases this can affect both fuel efficiency and the performance of the car. It’s likely these are two important considerations, so if that’s the case ask the supplier about how much fuel you can expect the car to use, while a test drive is always a good idea when you’re choosing a vehicle so you can get an idea of how it feels when driven.
The cost is clearly something you need to consider, as most of our decisions are governed by a budget. Try to choose a car that covers all your needs, but if your budget is limited then select a vehicle that covers your most important requirements. To discuss your options, call a member of our team and they’ll be happy to advise you and go through what we currently have available.
Here at Wheelchair Cars Ltd, we believe that every journey should be as comfortable and hassle-free as possible, which is why we’re dedicated to providing only the best wheelchair accessible vehicles for our customers. Our friends over at SpeedofSight.org are also passionate about making the lives of the disadvantaged better with their track day experiences for blind and disabled people. For more information on the amazing work they do or if you’re interested in providing sponsorship, head over to their website now!