Top features to look for in a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

When it comes to choosing the right wheelchair accessible vehicle, there are numerous factors to consider to ensure comfort, safety, and practicality.

By Jackie

4 min read
Citroen Spacetourer M

When it comes to choosing the right wheelchair accessible vehicle, there are numerous factors to consider to ensure comfort, safety, and practicality. Here, we’ll help you understand the key features to look for in a WAV, making your decision process smoother and more informed.

Choosing the right wheelchair accessible vehicle is crucial for ensuring the mobility and independence of individuals who use wheelchairs. With a variety of options available, it’s important to know what features to look for to meet your specific needs.

Space and Comfort

One of the most important aspects of a WAV is the interior space. Ample space ensures that the wheelchair user can comfortably maneuver within the vehicle. When evaluating a WAV, consider the following:

  • Interior Dimensions: Check the height, width, and length of the interior to ensure it can accommodate different wheelchair sizes. The user should be able to enter and exit the vehicle without feeling cramped.
  • Seating Arrangements: Flexible seating options are crucial. Look for vehicles with removable or foldable seats to create more room when needed. Some WAVs offer swivel seats, making it easier for wheelchair users to transfer to and from their wheelchair.
  • Headroom and Legroom: Sufficient headroom is essential for comfort and safety. Ensure that the vehicle has enough vertical space for the wheelchair user to sit comfortably without their head touching the roof. Adequate legroom is also important, especially for longer journeys.

Accessibility Features

Accessibility is at the heart of any WAV. The vehicle should offer features that make it easy for wheelchair users to get in and out. Key accessibility features include:

  • Ramps and Lifts: Depending on your preference, you can choose between manual and automatic ramps or lifts. Automatic options are more convenient but can be more expensive. Ensure that the ramp or lift can support the weight of the wheelchair and the user.
  • Door Heights and Widths: Wide and tall doors facilitate easy entry and exit. Check that the doors can fully open and provide enough clearance for the wheelchair.
  • Entry and Exit Options: Decide whether a side-entry or rear-entry vehicle is more suitable for your needs. Side-entry vehicles allow for easier curbside entry and exit, while rear-entry vehicles may offer more interior space and flexibility.

Safety Considerations

Safety is paramount when selecting a WAV. Ensure that the vehicle is equipped with the necessary safety features to protect the wheelchair user and other passengers:

  • Safety Belts and Tie-Down Systems: A good WAV should have secure safety belts and wheelchair tie-down systems to keep the wheelchair stable during transit. Look for vehicles that meet or exceed safety standards for tie-down systems.
  • Advanced Safety Features: Modern vehicles come equipped with advanced safety features like airbags, stability control, and anti-lock brakes. These features enhance the overall safety of the vehicle.
  • Crash-Test Ratings: Check the crash-test ratings of the WAV to ensure it provides a high level of protection in the event of an accident. Higher ratings indicate better safety performance.

Technology and Convenience

Technology can significantly enhance the driving and riding experience in a WAV. Look for vehicles equipped with the latest tech features for added convenience and entertainment:

  • GPS and Navigation Systems: Built-in GPS and navigation systems help drivers find the best routes and avoid traffic, making journeys smoother and more efficient.
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Bluetooth allows for hands-free communication and streaming of music or other audio content from smartphones or other devices.
  • Entertainment Systems: Consider vehicles with integrated entertainment systems to make long trips more enjoyable for all passengers. Features like video screens and high-quality sound systems can enhance the experience.

Customization Options

Every wheelchair user has unique needs, and customization options are essential for creating a WAV that meets those needs:

  • Tailoring to Specific Needs: Discuss with the manufacturer or dealer about customizing the vehicle to suit your specific requirements. This could include adjusting seat heights, adding specialized controls, or modifying the interior layout.
  • Examples of Custom Modifications: Common modifications include hand controls for driving, lowered floors for easier access, and specialized storage solutions for medical equipment. Ensure that the vehicle can accommodate these customizations without compromising safety or functionality.

Maintenance and Durability

A WAV should be durable and easy to maintain to ensure long-term reliability:

  • Durable Materials: Choose vehicles made from high-quality, durable materials that can withstand daily use. This includes robust flooring, sturdy ramps, and resilient seating materials.
  • Easy Maintenance Tips: Regular maintenance is crucial for keeping the vehicle in good condition. Look for vehicles with easy-to-clean interiors and accessible components. Routine checks of the ramp or lift mechanisms, tie-down systems, and other vital parts are essential.

Selecting the right wheelchair accessible vehicle is a critical decision that can greatly impact the mobility and independence of the user. By considering the features outlined in this guide—space and comfort, accessibility, safety, technology, customization, and durability—you can make an informed choice that meets your specific needs.

Remember, the best WAV is one that provides a comfortable, safe, and convenient travel experience for both the wheelchair user and other passengers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more personalized advice and to arrange test drives to find the perfect fit.

Whether you’re looking for a new or used WAV, ensuring that it has the right features will provide peace of mind and enhance the overall quality of life for the user. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help you find the ideal wheelchair accessible vehicle to suit your needs.

WAV Experts

If you're looking for expert WAV advice, please get in touch with one of our team members today.

Get in touch

Latest News

Need help or have any questions?

Get in touch