July 19, 2013

Three Features To Look For In An Accessible Van

When you are physically challenged with your mobility and independence, you know just how important it is to have a vehicle that can take you places. Those who are confined to a wheelchair or scooter shouldn’t be limited in the types of handicap auto mobiles available to them. Many companies provide wheelchair-accessible vans. These vans can be extremely helpful to those in wheelchairs, as well as their loved ones. They can provide the opportunity to avoid hectic and sometimes inaccessible public transit options while offering the freedom and mobility to run errands, get to appointments and engage in beloved activities and hobbies outside the home.

However, not all of these options are created equal. If you are deciding just what vehicle is right for you or your loved one, it is important to consider the features of the vehicle. It should make getting around as easy as possible for the physically disabled. Here are three main features to look for in your van.

1. A Lowered Floor

One of the most important and common modifications made to a van to make it handicap accessible is the lowered floor feature. It is the crucial element to any vehicle that will transport those in a wheelchair or scooter. A lowered floor lends additional floor-to-ceiling clearance. In turn, this allows a person to remain seated in their wheelchair while entering the vehicle, riding in the vehicle or even driving the van. A handicap vehicle without a lowered floor simply won’t work for the needs of the physically challenged. That extra bit of room is essential.

2. A Ramp

Vans come with all sorts of different types of ramps. The ramp is another crucial element to the vehicle, as it permits the physically disabled to enter the means of transportation in the first place. While a lowered floor might help once you are inside, you need a means to get there. Different brands and models vary when it comes to how the ramp feature is set up. Some models have the ramp in the rear of the vehicle. Others have the ramp fold out manually on the side. Some are automatic to lend the physically challenged a ramp that doesn’t require another person’s assistance. The kind of ramp you go with all depends upon what you want and need. It is important to consider the fact that if a ramp is automated, it should still be possible to open it up manually in the case of a malfunction.

3. Removable Seating

For the person who doesn’t want to be limited as to where they can sit in the vehicle, you might want to find this feature in your van. Removable seating makes it possible for the physically challenged to ride up front or even get behind the wheel of the vehicle. Some handicap vans make it easy to take out the seating bases and roll the whole seat out of the vehicle. While seats can be reinstalled, the feature lends more ability for the person to move about the car. You don’t have to be limited to one spot in the van with this feature.

Susan works in a group home for adults with physical disabilities, where several accessible vans are used to help the residents get around. They purchased these vans from She sees how much these vehicles make a difference in the mobility, and therefore the lives, of the people she works with and wants others to understand their options.

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