Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles or WAVs are specially modified automotives that enable disabled individuals to use their wheelchairs inside the vehicles without transferring to the seat of the vehicle. They are ergonomically fashioned vehicles that are designed and made with the needs of the user in mind. These vehicles use adaptive technologies to provide the most ideal solutions to the disabled persons.
The Automotive Group UK has been providing WAVs that have transformed the lives of many people with different disabilities by alleviating some of the challenges that they face in their daily lives as well as the challenges that caregivers face while helping them settle in the ordinary vehicles before and while travelling.
Perhaps you have not considered the idea of investing in a wheelchair accessible vehicle because you think it’s more expensive than an ordinary vehicle. You might also think that driving this vehicle is less fun. However, there are several benefits that come with buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Benefits of buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle
1. Greater mobility
Wheelchair accessible vehicles allow the disabled persons and caregivers greater mobility. Whether you have a power or manual wheelchair, a wheelchair accessible vehicle will greatly enhance your mobility. It makes movement easier when going to see a doctor or even to a grocery store.
2. Less pain
A wheelchair accessible vehicle does not require a disabled person to be transferred from the wheelchair to the seat of the vehicle. This is very important, especially when the disabled person has injuries that cause them pain during such movements. With this vehicle, unnecessary pain is prevented on the disabled person’s shoulders, especially if the user of the wheelchair is doing the transfer alone or at the back when the transfer is being done by caregivers.
3. More freedom
With a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you get more freedom especially if you drive yourself. A WAV allows you to go anywhere, any time and do what you want without requiring assistance from other people. It also simplifies the job of caregivers. This implies that with a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you can go almost anywhere you want.
4. Save time
Wheelchair accessible vehicles save a great deal of time. Getting the user of a wheelchair into the vehicle with a lift system or ramp is more efficient and easier than lifting both the wheelchair and the user into the vehicle separately.
One of the major benefits of a wheelchair accessible vehicle is its versatility. This vehicle is easy to adapt to the specific needs of a disabled person. Whether you want to carry multiple wheelchairs or medical equipment, the vehicle can be adapted to suit your specific needs.
Apart from the transfer options and wheelchair lifts options, wheelchair accessible vehicles are specifically designed for people whose mobility is limited. This implies that they are modified vehicles that ensure that the disabled persons are transported in a more secure way. In addition, the vehicles are made with superior quality equipment. The equipment reduces injury risk while getting into the vehicle and when alighting as well as while travelling. Even transferring the wheelchair inside the vehicle is easy and safe. With in-floor ramps, wheelchair ties and other restraint options, wheelchair accessible vehicles provide the safety that is needed to ensure the comfort of the disabled persons and their loved ones while travelling.
These vehicles have great possibilities for adaptive conversion such as low-effort steering, in-floor ramp technology and automated ramp systems which make their operations convenient and simple. This accessibility makes becoming accustomed to these vehicles easy while preventing injuries in case any equipment is not used properly. Usability and practicality are the major benefits of wheelchair accessible vehicles because they make moving from one point to another an enjoyable and seamless process.
8. Possible financing
Although wheelchair accessible vehicles can be more costly than most standard vehicles, there are financing programs by governments as well as other groups that make buying them less expensive. These programs are specifically designed for people with some disorders or in specific situations. If you cannot get financial assistance when buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle, there are dealers that will charge you much less for a rental vehicle. This implies that you can rent a wheelchair accessible vehicle any time you need it.
These vehicles are available in different styles, makes and models. Sometime back, disabled persons had to use conversion vans or public transport only. However, technology has changed this and disabled people are now using trucks, minivans and sport vehicles. This is because these vehicles are built with the disabled persons in mind. They come with advancements for mobility equipment and innovative designs that suit the disabled persons.
10. Inbuilt controls
There are wheelchair accessible vehicles that come with inbuilt controls that enable the disabled persons to drive them safely. These controls include gas and brake controls on their steering wheels. With such WAVs, people without legs or who cannot use legs can still drive the vehicles and get where they want to go. In some of the wheelchair accessible vehicles, there is no driver seat. This implies that the wheelchair is the driver’s seat for these vehicles. Other wheelchair accessible vehicles come with tie-downs and safety clamps that ensure that the wheelchair is secured in a way that prevents its movement while driving.
These are basically the major benefits of investing in a wheelchair accessible vehicle. However, they come with different features that you should consider when buying your WAV.
Features of wheelchair accessible vehicles
Some wheelchair accessible vehicles, especially the large ones, come with lifts. A lift helps when getting into the vehicle. However, a WAV that has a lift is usually more costly than one that comes with a ramp. For most WAVs, lifts require annual service. However, this service is usually covered by the insurance.
A ramp is the most common means of accessing a wheelchair accessible vehicle. It is usually operated manually by physically unfolding it from the vehicle’s back. Some WAVs come with automatic ramps that unfold and fold automatically when a button is pressed. However, vehicles with automatic ramps are relatively expensive. It is important to consider the length and angle of a ramp because not all WAVs come with ramps of a similar size. Some ramps will make pushing the wheelchair difficult. There are also spring-loaded manual ramps. These are easy to raise and lower.
This is an important feature to consider when buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle. In most cases, the floor of a WAV is specially lowered. This allows for more headroom in the vehicle which enhances the comfort of the passenger while seating on a wheelchair. When the floor is lowered, it means that the ramp might be shorter or have an angle that is less steep to allow for easy access.
WAVS come with restraint belts which attach to the rear and front of the wheelchair. They lock the wheelchair in place and this minimises movements while travelling. The restraints at the front part of the wheelchair are normally self-locking and adjustable, and attaching them to the wheelchair is easy. Even the seatbelt is self-locking and adjustable. However, different WAVs come with different mechanisms for attaching the restraints to the wheelchair. Some are easier to operate than others. Therefore, consider the mechanism when buying your wheelchair accessible vehicle.
This is a very important feature of wheelchair accessible vehicles. A good WAV has space that accommodates the passenger and things that they use regularly while travelling such as mobility and shopping aids.
Tips for buying wheelchair accessible vehicles
There are many types of wheelchair accessible vehicles that you can find at Automotive Group UK. These can overwhelm you when making your buying decision.
To choose the best WAV for you or for a loved one, consider the following:
Severity of mobility challenges
There are different saloons, SUVs and coupes that can be used by disabled persons who cannot move around without chairs. Such vehicles come with space whose height makes them accessible and comfortable for such drivers.
Convenience and practicality
Minivans and conversion vans might not appeal to you visually, but they provide great convenience and practicality. Therefore, if convenience and practicality are important factors to you, consider such WAVs.
Your specific needs
It is important to consider your needs currently and in the future when buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle. For instance, there are drivers who suffer from cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. These are conditions that lead to diminishing agility and strength as time goes by. As such, you might be able to get into a sedan today, but will you have that mobility some years to come? Therefore, to buy the right WAV, consider your needs now and in the future.
Generally, there are many factors that come into play when buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle. It is important that you consider all of them to make the right choice. When you buy your WAV at Automotive Group UK, you get a free home demonstration and professional guidance. This implies that you invest your money in a wheelchair accessible vehicle that meets your exact needs.