Now this post is specific in nature, but we all know someone where the simple act of getting in and out of the car isn’t as easy as opening the door, jumping in and speeding away. The modifications to new cars, trucks and vans vary depending on the nature of the disability. For users of wheelchairs and scooters, a method of loading necessary equipment is an essential feature. Smaller minivans tend to have ramps, while full size and conversion vans usually have lifts. These can be located at either the side or rear of the vehicle. Unoccupied lifts raise the chair or scooter by itself for easy stowing. Occupied lifts accommodate those who unable to lift themselves into the vehicle. They allow the passenger to remain in his or her wheelchair and to fit comfortably inside while still leaving room to accommodate additional ambulatory passengers.
Alternatively, provisions can also be made for those wheelchair users who are able to drive themselves. Vans designed with this in mind enable the disabled to navigate his or her wheelchair right up to the driver’s seat and lock it in place. Hand controls can be used operate the gas and brake pedals.
For individuals who retain partial mobility but still may need a little extra help entering and exiting the vehicle, another option is a seat assist. With the pull of a lever the seat spins to face the van door and then extends and tilts for ease of boarding. Similarly, assist steps can be mounted underneath the door to extend and retract as needed.
Additional modifications can include:
• raised ceiling
• lowered floor
• widened entry
• steering wheel hand grips
Just as no two humans are exactly alike, no two disabilities require identical assistance. It is important to consult an experienced and knowledgeable disabled dealer who can help determine your unique needs and guide you through proper installation. In addition, it may be helpful to seek advice and wisdom from fellow disabled persons and experts in related industries.
The necessity for handicapped accessible vehicles is growing and at the same time becoming more advanced. If you have any questions or suggestions, or need help finding the right vehicle for you, please leave a comment or come by and see me.