Wheelchair Access Vehicles
For many wheelchair users, having to get out of the wheelchair and into a car passenger seat is a challenging task. Whether it’s initially gaining access into the car or storing the wheelchair in the car once seated, there are many difficulties to face. Some of these challenges can become more manageable with the use of suitable equipment or the right wheelchair access vehicle (WAV). Most commonly these vehicles are Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPV), as they are suitable for wheelchair access and appropriately sized for everyday family use. Here we’ve put together a guide for using and getting into a wheelchair access vehicle.
All WAVs are made by converting an existing vehicle, usually a new production MPV or van, into a vehicle you can access whilst remaining in your wheelchair. They can be custom adapted to best suit your individual requirements. So like searching for any regular car, there are a lot of options to consider.
There are two main options for gaining access into your WAV- up a ramp or by the use of a lift. Depending on your requirements, there are advantages and disadvantages for both.
Most powered wheelchairs will be able to get up a ramp into the car under their own power, but depending on the steepness you may need more assistance. As well as being the cheaper option, it is a common reason why many passengers in a wheel chair opt for a ramp in their WAV as they are likely to have someone on hand to help.
Ramps are lighter than lifts and do not affect the handling so much.
The types of lifts may vary to suit the vehicle and owner. However, lifts are always powered and are usually operated using a wired or wireless control panel. Lifts are usually more suited to larger vehicles as they need a wider platform and are heavier than ramps.