There’s no escaping the fact that choosing a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) can be stressful. There are so many different issues to consider, and you might not have previous experience of purchasing one of these vehicles. Fortunately though, help is at hand. This blog talks you through the basics of selecting a car or van to suit a wheelchair user and it should help you hone in on the right model.
The dimensions of these vehicles are critical. Before you commit to making a purchase, you have to be 100 per cent certain that the wheelchair user (whether this is you or a family member) will be able to get into and out of the WAV easily and will have enough space to feel comfortable on journeys. As well as considering the width and length of the chair you want to fit in the vehicle, consider the height of the seated wheelchair passenger. As experts Mobility Nationwide note, the internal height of vehicles can differ. This is something you’ll need to research when you’re making your selection. The height of the wheelchair passenger will also impact on their forward view through the windscreen. Certain models offer better views for taller passengers.
If you need to transport extra equipment in addition to a wheelchair, you’ll need to factor this into your calculations too.
Other important practical features
There are a range of other important practical factors to take into account as well. For example, do you want ramp or lift access for the wheelchair user? Ramps are the most common option, and they are generally manually operated - although you can get automatic versions. Often available with larger WAVs, lifts can be a better option if pushing a wheelchair into your vehicle is likely to be too difficult.
Then there’s passenger numbers to consider. Smaller WAVs tend to be able to accommodate up to four people, while medium-sized models can take between five and seven. Think about wheelchair position as well. Would sitting beside the driver be preferable to sitting behind them? Also, would the driver benefit from the added simplicity of automatic transmission or would they prefer manual controls?
Of course, price is also crucial. The chances are you have a strict spending limit to stick to. Luckily, this doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. There are some great value WAVs available now and you can find competitive deals by browsing the web. Some websites give you the option of searching according to price bracket, making it easier to find models that fall within your budget.
Being methodical in your search and following advice like this should help ensure you end up with the right WAV for you.