When it comes to getting around, a car is just about as convenient as it gets, especially if you’re a wheelchair-user. Personal accessible transportation for wheelchair-users comes in the form of WAVs, or wheelchair accessible vehicles, as they’re known.
Choosing a suitable wheelchair accessible vehicle
Before you begin browsing garage websites for a suitable WAV, it’s important to be clear on what qualities you want the vehicle to have. For example, if you need to be able to drive whilst seated in your wheelchair and you want to carry passengers, too, you’ll need a large, people-carrier style vehicle. Clearly, this will be more expensive to run and you’ll need a driveway or garage that’s large enough to accommodate it. If you intend to travel primarily alone, a smaller vehicle will be easier to manoeuvre and cheaper.
Make a list of any special adaptations that you might require, for example:
• manual or automatic transmission
• rear or side access options
• access ramps
• vertical lifts or winches
• manual or electronic tie-down for your wheelchair
• other steering or braking adaptations
Some of the things you need will come as standard, whereas others will be additional options that you’ll pay more for. Be prepared to haggle - most dealerships will happily do a deal in order to make a sale!
If you can’t decide which vehicle to go for, it’s a good idea to hire one for a short period so that you can trial it before parting with your cash.
Types of wheelchair accessible vehicle
There are two main types of WAV.
Internal WAVs are designed to be driven by the wheelchair-user. You could choose a design that facilitates transfer from your wheelchair to the driver’s seat, or, if you prefer, you could remain in your wheelchair and drive from it without the need to transfer.
Alternatively, motorised trikes allow the driver to access the driver’s seat via a rear ramp. You then drive the vehicle from your wheelchair without having to transfer. Trikes can also be converted to allow you to transfer into the driver’s seat if you prefer, and your wheelchair can be stored elsewhere on the trike.
A wide range of personal accessible transportation options are available for disabled drivers. Have a chat with your local mobility centre for advice on what’s out there, or check our dealership here at Mobility One to see what mobility vehicles and WAVs are available.