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Alternatives To a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

When requiring a vehicle to accommodate a wheelchair user, either as a passenger or driver, many people think that their only option is a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV).

While WAV’s offer a great solution for some people, there are several vehicle adaptations that can offer alternative solutions depending on your individual requirements. 

What are wheelchair accessible vehicles?

A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle is a van derived vehicle that has been converted to enable a wheelchair user to travel within the vehicle whilst remaining seated in their wheelchair. 

Typically the floor is lowered with a fitted ramp so the wheelchair user can enter through the rear or side of the car. 

Alternatives to WAVs

It’s important to explore all available options to ensure you select the right travel solution for your specific needs. There are a range of vehicle adaptations available so you can enjoy access to a standard vehicle, or it may be that you don’t require permanent access to your own car and may look for public transport solutions. 

Seating solutions

Vehicle access adaptations such as person hoists or swivel seats allow you to get seated from a wheelchair into a standard vehicle, enabling you to retain the use of your current vehicle. 

A person hoist lifts you via a fitted sling that is positioned around you while seated, completely removing the requirement for a caregiver to physically lift the user as part of their transfer in or out of the vehicle. 

Swivel seats replace the original manufacturer’s car seat (either driver or passenger seat) with a purpose-built car seat that is fitted onto a rotating, swivel base. This then allows the seat to turn out of the vehicle, either manually or electronically, for easier access. 

Both options are extremely cost-effective compared to a WAV, whilst also providing a host of other benefits: 

  • Take full advantage of standard vehicle safety systems by being seated naturally, such as locking seatbelts, airbags and supportive seats
  • Enjoy all the usual vehicle luxuries such as air conditioning, radio and heated seats
  • Enables you to sit in the front or rear of the vehicle with your travelling companions for a sociable journey
  • You don’t need to change your current car, or if you are looking to change your vehicle, you’re not restricted in your search 

Mobility device stowage 

Once you’ve established your preferred seating solution, you can then explore stowage systems to lift, store and transport your mobility device whilst travelling in your car. 

A wheelchair roof box will lift, stow and retrieve your manual wheelchair above your vehicle in a fully enclosed weatherproof box. Suitable for both independent drivers and passengers. 

Operated by a remote control, a boot hoist  uses lifting points attached to your mobility device and a crane-like lifting arm to securely lift and load a mobility scooter or wheelchair into the boot of your car. 

Both of these adaptations offer a practical stowage solution so you can travel with your mobility device while eliminating the physical strain often required when manually lifting the heavy parts of your mobility device. 

Adaptive driving equipment

With a range of driving adaptations, you can get behind the wheel with confidence.  

For those unable to operate the standard foot pedals, there are a range of hand controls and pedal adaptations to overcome a host of driving challenges. Hand controls transfer acceleration and/or brake from the foot pedals to a specially designed control, operated by hand. Alternatively, if you only struggle with your right leg, then a left foot accelerator can be fitted to the left of the brake pedal for operation with your left foot. 

Public transportation services

It may be that you decide you don’t require permanent access to your own vehicle, and instead only need occasional access to public transport services. Or if you live in a big city, it may not be feasible to keep your own car. 

Buses, trams, tubes and trains can offer convenient and more affordable transport. Although we recommend doing your research before visiting the stations to ensure it is accessible for your needs. 

Wheelchair Accessible taxis and rentals are a popular solution for those to gain access to transport for appointments or events, especially where public transport like trains and buses don’t travel. 

Get in touch with our team at Mobility in Motion who will be able to talk you through the available vehicle adaptation solutions and arrange a mobility assessment to understand your individual requirements and recommend the exact products for your needs.