If you are in the market for a new wheelchair van, the first question you may ask yourself is: “what vehicles can be wheelchair accessible?” Several types of handicap vans are available, ranging from full-size vans to SUVs, trucks, or even smaller sedans. This blog explores common accessibility adaptions and wheelchair accessible vehicles to help you find the perfect van to fit your needs.
Common Accessibility Adaptations
The type of modifications your ideal vehicle will require is dependent on your specific needs and preferences. Luckily, the amount of adaptive technologies available for wheelchair users continues to expand every year. These technologies range from simple equipment, such as swivel seats, to more high-tech equipment like hand controls.
A swivel seat, like BraunAbility’s Turny Evo, is one of the most common modifications available. Best of all, it’s compatible with over 150 vehicles and is programmed to fit each passenger’s exact needs. This type of equipment can easily be modified to fit a van you already own, even if your vehicle is on the smaller side. Other common vehicular adaptations include:
- Wheelchair restraint systems
- Lowered floors or raised roofs
- Bubble tops
- Pedal extenders
- Automatic locks/windows
- Left foot accelerators
At Ability Center, our Mobility Specialists can help you determine the best vehicle that can adapt to your specific needs.
What Vehicles Are Wheelchair Accessible?
It may feel overwhelming as you begin your search for the right wheelchair accessible vehicle. The good news is, you probably have more options than you think. A standard van isn’t your only option when it comes to buying a wheelchair van. Chances are, your existing car can be converted to fit your needs.
Wheelchair vans are the most popular vehicle option for wheelchair users. From Toyota rear-entry wheelchair vans to Chrysler Pacificas and more, wheelchair vans are many peoples’ go-to for accessible transportation due to their spacious interiors and built-in safety features. The vehicles offer the option for a rear- or side-entry and can often accommodate more than one wheelchair user. Additionally, wheelchair vans also allow a wheelchair user to move around within the interior cabin and reposition themselves independently.
A full-sized wheelchair van might not fit everyone’s lifestyle or preferences. Luckily, you can easily find a wheelchair-accessible SUV that fits your accessibility needs. At Ability Center, our inventory of wheelchair-accessible SUVs includes the BraunAbility Chevy Traverse and the VMI Honda Pilot. The Traverse and the Pilot are ideal cars for those who want a mid-sized vehicle that will serve them well in both their daily activities and on extended travels, such as road trips. If you are looking for something even more compact, a smaller SUV like the Kia Soul can be equipped with accessibility features.
If you have a trusty truck or have been in the market for one, don’t let your need for accessibility equipment stop you from purchasing one. Handicap platform lifts and wheelchair lifts can be easily installed in a variety of pickups and trucks. At Ability Center, we partner with Ryno Mobility to offer accessible Chevrolet Suburbans, GMC Yukon XLs, Dodge Rams, Chevrolet Silverados, and GMC Sierras.
Questions To Ask Before You Start Shopping
Before you begin shopping for a new wheelchair van, be sure to take some time to answer a few questions about your needs and preferences. Of course, a certified Mobility Specialist can help point you in the right direction and offer expert guidance to help you make the best selections.
Once you’ve found a vehicle you’d like to purchase, it’s important to answer some additional questions to make sure you’ll be able to modify the van. While you may have additional questions, here are some items the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends starting with:
- Does the vehicle have the cargo capacity (in pounds) to accommodate the equipment you require?
- Will there be enough space and cargo capacity to accommodate your family or other passengers once the vehicle is modified?
- Is there adequate parking space at home and at work for the vehicle and for loading/unloading a wheelchair?
- Is there adequate parking space to maneuver if you use a walker?
- What additional options are necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle?
Understanding what vehicles can be wheelchair accessible is one of the first steps in the car buying process. No matter what style, size, or model of vehicle you end up choosing, our team of Mobility Specialists will make sure your experience is seamless and that you drive away in a car that meets all your needs. Visit your local Ability Center dealer to start searching for your new vehicle today!