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  • Choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle

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    Choosing the right vehicle requires lots of consideration, but even more so when buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Fortunately, there are many options that can accommodate the wheelchair user's requirements.

    Seating position
    Wheelchair accessible vehicles can be adapted according to whether the user will be the driver or the passenger. Generally, those travelling as passengers are located in the rear seat position.

    Space
    Space is limited in wheelchair accessible vehicles, which often means other seats or storage area may be compromised. Work out how much space you need and how the vehicle matches your requirements. In some cases, seats can be folded down. You can normally buy small, medium or large vehicles.

    Safety

    Seatbelts are essential in any vehicle, but in wheelchair accessible vehicles there are different mechanisms that can be used for attaching the four restraint belts to the wheelchair. These may require assistance to operate, so it's important to consider ease of use of these when deciding which vehicle to buy.

    Getting in and out
    How to get in and out of the vehicle is also an important consideration. Wheelchair accessible vehicles tend to have a lowered floor and ramp, and a winch or transfer board may be useful for getting the user in and out. A lot depends on the individual's disability, the size of the wheelchair, and how much assistance they need. As well as getting in and out, you'll need to weigh up how easy it is to load the wheelchair in the boot, if required. A hoist can be fitted to help with this. Some vehicles also come with handy features or controls, or these can be fitted.

    Financial aspects

    If you receive certain benefits, you may be able to get free road tax and VAT. You'll need to buy specialist insurance covering wheelchair vehicles.