As I reached the age of sixteen, like every other teenager, I started to foster a desire to drive. As a quad-amputee, that entire process would become very complicated, very quickly. I had briefly heard about adaptive driving devices, but had never seen any. Before I graduated high school, I began to work with a counselor from Vocational Rehabilitation. A few years, and a couple counselors later, I was finally approved for driver's training; however, to complete it, I needed my own vehicle.
In a number of these blog posts, I've stated that I'm very happy to live in this day and age. With the advancement of technology, has come increased opportunities and access for people with disabilities. When speaking about mobility vehicles, the availability of reliable solutions has drastically increased. With that, the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) stepped in to ensure and certify the quality of mobility vehicles. This approach prevents people from purchasing vehicles with sub-par conversions, and includes warranties that exist alongside manufacturer warranties. As an extension, twenty-four hour, emergency service is also provided.
Now, to the big question: with all of the available options, how do you decide which mobility vehicle will suit your needs? Firstly, anybody in the market for a mobility vehicle should only purchase from an NMEDA certified dealer. Though the first mobility vehicles were vans and mini-vans, trucks and SUV's can now be converted into mobility vehicles.
There are now a number of mobility vehicles to choose from. How do you know which one is the best for you? Many factors of daily living will impact your decision, including: the ages of you and your family, the height and size of wheel chairs and their users, the average amount of passengers and cargo, and the most frequent parking situation for you, including home parking and garage layout.
These considerations will further impact the type of modification that your vehicle needs, which include either side- or rear-entry. One choice is not better than the other; however, your lifestyle will impact the choice that you make. Side-entry vans will grant the wheel chair user access to the middle and front of the vehicle, meaning that they can either ride in the passenger position, or possibly drive the vehicle, themselves. This conversion isn't recommended for individuals who do not have adequate room to load and unload from the side of their vehicle. Rear-entry entry grants the wheel chair user access to the rear and middle of the vehicle, but won't allow the user to ride in either the driver or passenger positions. This conversion is typically recommended for wheel chair users who will not be positioned in the front of the vehicle, and for people who have limited room from loading and unloading from the vehicle.
Additionally, assistive driving devices are available for individuals who experience physical limitations, preventing them from driving a vehicle in a conventional fashion.
Check our inventory for more information about the accessible vehicles that are available for purchase.
Click here to check out Braun Ability's top ten considerations for buying a mobility vehicle.