June 28, 2017 at 9:46 AM
These days, there seems to be more choice when it comes to almost everything. Of course, the problem can sometimes be that extra options just make things more complicated. From deciding what to watch on TV to choosing a takeaway, things seemed so much easier when there were three options to choose from instead of 30 or more!
Exactly the same applies when you are in the market for a new car, and even if you are constrained by wheelchair accessibility, there are more options today than ever. Here are some questions to think about that will help you to narrow down the choice.
Custom-made or standard?
Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) broadly come in two types, either as standard conversions or custom-built to meet the needs of the individual. These days, if you have limited mobility but no other special requirements, then a standard WAV will almost certainly suit your needs.
If you have additional requirements, such as hand controls or a steering ball, these will usually mean that some custom modification is necessary.
Driver or passenger?
If you are travelling as a passenger, then you will normally access your WAV by way of a ramp at the rear. If you are a driver, then you might need a different setup. For example, some vehicles feature a winch, which allows you to access the vehicle from a side ramp and get into the driver's seat unaided. In this kind of setup, a swivelling driver's seat can also be a great option.
The question of whether you are the driver or the passenger also dictates whether stowing the wheelchair is an important consideration for you.
What, or who, are you carrying?
Some vehicles are set up to transport more than one wheelchair. Others have plenty of space for luggage and shopping – so as well as your own mobility needs, you also need to think hard about how you use your vehicle, whether you are likely to be carrying many passengers with you, and if so, whether they have mobility needs of their own that you need to take into account.
Ramp or lift?
Ramps are simple, but can be awkward. They need plenty of space behind or beside the vehicle, to allow you to get in and out, and then there is the question of stowing them. You might decide to consider a lift instead. The benefit here is that it is remote controlled and hassle free. Again, the question of how, and where, you will be using your vehicle comes into play here.
Try them out
By answering the above questions, you will have a far better idea of your needs, but the only way to decide for sure is by coming over and trying out all the options. Take your time and try out as many vehicles as you wish. Remember what we said at the beginning. Today, there are more choices than ever, so let's find the perfect vehicle for you.