Customizing your Vehicle for Wheelchair Accessibility

Wheelchair lifts for vehicles

Being mobility handicapped does not mean that you have to give up the ability to drive. There are many ways to customize a vehicle to fit your accessibility needs. Approximately 53 million Americans live with a disability, and according to a recent study, the most common disability is associated with limited mobility. Fortunately, with so many mobility issues, unique customizations have been designed to allow the operation of a vehicle, despite these mobility challenges.

Compact stair lifts
One of the biggest challenges of operating a vehicle with mobility difficulties is getting into the vehicle. With compact stair lifts, however, you can lift your wheelchair and move into the driver?s seat. In many cases, you can make this move all on your own, without the assistance of another person. This significantly improves independence for those seniors and wheelchair bound individuals that currently live alone. Another option is to build an aluminum wheelchair ramp from the house to the vehicle. When pulling up to the house, you simply park the vehicle in the spot and then use the ramp.

A special Bruno vehicle chair
Because not all wheelchairs are designed to fit into the driver?s seat, you might need a specialized vehicle chair. The Bruno vehicle chair is a great option that is often used in wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Approximately 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices to aid their mobility. This chair is specifically designed for those that require a mobility device but do not want to be limited to their house for movement.

Automated wheelchair lifts
Additionally, some wheelchair-accessible vehicles come fully equipped with automated wheelchair lifts. With an automated wheelchair lift, you don?t have to worry about bringing along aluminum ramps or other types of elderly lift devices. Instead, you have full mobility by using the automated feature on the wheelchair-accessible vehicle. These automated features not only make the transition from chair to vehicle smoother, but they also reduce the chance of falls. With every 11 seconds, an older adults being treated in the emergency room for a fall, this increase in safety is very important.

Custom drivability features
Mobility difficulties differ by the individual. Because of this, so do drivability features on wheelchair-accessible vehicles. A person that still has full use of their legs and feet is likely to have a wheelchair vehicle that is set up similar to a regular one. However, if the individual has reduced or no control of the legs or feet, the driving lever might be moved up to the hand level. This allows the person to operate the drive and brake pedal with their hands, giving them full vehicle mobility. It can also improve the safety of the drive, especially when control of the lower area is limited.

Voice activated features
Sometimes, special customizations, like the hand operated pedals can complicate other driving needs. For example, if the driver is using their hands to operate the gas and brake pedal, they are unable to use their hands for turn signals or wiper blades. For this reason, many of these additional features are voice activated in wheelchair-accessible vehicles. This improves the entire drive function and gives the driver the same features as any other driver has.

One of the first sacrifices of limited mobility is often the ability to operate a vehicle. However, with advanced technology and improvement to vehicle drivability, even those with mobility difficulties can operate a vehicle by themselves. With customizations to the vehicle, it can be turned into a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.

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