Choosing the right wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV) is a significant decision for individuals with mobility challenges and their families, and it’s not always easy. Whether you’re considering purchasing a WAV for personal use or as part of a transportation service, there are several essential factors to consider to ensure safety, comfort, and practicality. In this article, we’ll explore what you need to look for in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to make an informed decision.
Understand Your Specific Needs
Before beginning your search for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, it’s crucial to understand your specific mobility needs and requirements. Consider factors such as the type and size of the wheelchair or mobility device you use, the number of passengers you need to accommodate, and any additional equipment or accessories you may require. Assessing your needs will help you narrow down your options and choose a vehicle that meets your unique requirements.
Look For A Supplier You Can Trust
When purchasing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, it’s essential to choose a supplier you can trust. Look for reputable dealerships and mobility specialists with experience in wheelchair-accessible vehicles and a track record of excellent customer service. Consider factors such as the dealership’s reputation, customer reviews and testimonials, and the range of wheelchair-accessible vehicles for sale and conversion options they offer. Additionally, inquire about financing options, warranty coverage, and after-sales support to ensure a seamless purchasing experience and ongoing satisfaction with your vehicle.
Evaluate Accessibility Features
When selecting a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, accessibility features are paramount. Look for vehicles that offer easy entry and exit for wheelchair users, with features such as lowered floors, ramps, and wide door openings. Consider the height and angle of the ramp, as well as its weight capacity, to ensure it can accommodate your wheelchair or mobility device safely and comfortably. Additionally, assess the interior layout and configuration to ensure ample space for manoeuvrability and comfortable seating arrangements for both wheelchair users and other passengers.
Consider Vehicle Size And Type
Wheelchair-accessible vehicles are available in various sizes and types, including minivans, full-size vans, and converted vehicles. Consider your transportation needs and preferences when selecting the size and type of vehicle. Minivans are often preferred for their compact size, ease of manoeuvrability, and fuel efficiency, making them suitable for everyday use and urban driving. Full-size vans offer more interior space and seating capacity, making them ideal for larger families or groups. Converted vehicles, such as SUVs or crossovers, offer a blend of style and functionality, with customisable conversion options to suit your specific requirements.
Look For Safety Features
Safety is paramount when choosing a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Look for vehicles that come equipped with advanced safety features to ensure the safety of passengers, including wheelchair users. Features to look for may include anti-lock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control, and multiple airbags. Additionally, consider optional safety features such as rear-view cameras, blind-spot monitoring, and parking sensors to enhance visibility and manoeuvrability, especially in crowded or confined spaces.