July 18, 2018 at 4:18 PM
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) are able to accommodate a wheelchair without the user having to get out of it; instead of sitting in one of the vehicle's seats, they remain in their wheelchair.
For many wheelchair users, the process of getting out of the wheelchair and into a car or van is challenging. There's the initial problem of gaining access to the vehicle and then the issue of trying to store the wheelchair in the boot.
These types of mobility problems can be avoided by using a WAV which will simply make getting around much easier for everyone involved. We've put together the six key benefits of owning and driving a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Even if you've become an expert at transferring yourself or another person from a wheelchair to a car or van, and then folding and storing the wheelchair, this process still takes time.
With a wheelchair accessible vehicle, there's no more folding, storing or cumbersome seat transfers. Depending on the adaptions on the WAV, there will either be a ramp or lift to transfer the wheelchair, with the user in it, into the vehicle.
When you reach your destination, the wheelchair is already set up and ready to go so you can get going straight away.
Transferring a wheelchair user into a vehicle that isn't wheelchair accessible can be painful and exhausting for both the passenger and the caregiver.
The wheelchair users themselves often have to put a large strain on their upper body to compensate for a lack of strength in their legs. Even if they don't do much of the movement themselves, being moved, especially in confined spaces can be a painful experience for a disabled person.
Similarly, having to transfer someone from a wheelchair into a car or van is strenuous work which can cause the caregiver pain, particularly in their back and shoulders.
A WAV completely removes the need to manually transfer a wheelchair user into the vehicle, eliminating the risk of anyone injuring themselves during this process.
Specifically designed to transport people with limited mobility, WAVs are modified to ensure that disabled people are able to move in vehicles in a more secure way.
As previously mentioned, the equipment helps to reduce the risk of injury to both the wheelchair user and caregiver, making the process of getting in and out of the vehicle safer.
In addition, wheelchair accessible vehicles also come fitted with in-floor ramps, wheelchair ties and other restraint options to prevent the wheelchair from moving while the vehicle is in transit.
By default, wheelchair accessible vehicles have been converted from a standard MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) or van. As such, they can be configured in the best way possible to accommodate the wheelchair user themselves.
For example, WAVs can transport two wheelchair passengers at the same time or have enough regular seats so there's still room for the whole family. The adaptations used to transfer the wheelchair into the vehicle range from different types of lifts and ramps, with extra equipment such as winches that could be added on.
WAVs are available in different styles, makes and models, as well a wide variety of sizes. Obviously, there is a minimum size requirement, because the vehicle has to be able to transport a wheelchair with the user in it and a driver.
The most popular wheelchair accessible vehicles are the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Van and Peugeot Partner Tepee MPV. Both provide plenty of space for the wheelchair, passengers and any cargo that needs to be carried.
For wheelchair users that are able to drive with specialist built-in controls, a WAV can be specifically adapted to allow them to get behind the wheel themselves and not have to depend on a caregiver, family member or friend.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles for drivers are likely to be heavily adapted and built around the user and their wheelchair. It will also need to have an automatic docking system and ramp as well as automatic doors.
Being able to drive from the wheelchair means that users can perform day-to-day tasks such as going to the supermarket or doctor's appointments without having to rely on anyone to go with them.
Here at Premier Mobility Cars, we stock a range of wheelchair accessible vehicles. If you think you could benefit from one, search our stock or call us on 01634 716 911 to speak to one of our experts.