Published 2009-02-08 (Rev. 2013-08-01) -- Driving an adapted vehicle instead of being the passenger is the difference between being dependent on others or independent.
Author: Janet Nicol
Quote: "Some of the features of adapted vehicles include parking brakes that are controlled by a switch and electric wheelchair locking systems."
Driving an adapted vehicle instead of being the passenger is the difference between being dependent on others for transportation and being independent. Owning an adaptive vehicle means choosing where and when you want to go to the store, to work or just out for the fun of it.
Adapted vehicles can be used by paraplegics, people with spinal chord injuries, severe arthritics and anyone with limited use of their legs.
Cars with an automatic transmission can be modified into adapted vehicles by having either permanently installed hand controls or portable hand controls. Both kinds of hand controls have advantages. A car or van with permanent controls can be driven by anyone. The driver simply chooses whether or not to use the hand controls. The pedals function as they normally would.
Portable Hand Controls are easy to add and remove from a car or van and fit most vehicles with an automatic transmission. This means that you are stuck in one car. Almost any car can be made into an adapted vehicle. What if you need to borrow a car, or better yet, rent one while on vacation? You have the portable equipment you need. There is no waiting for installation. A few minutes and you are ready to go.
An adapted vehicle often has other special controls . Accessible vans and/or minivans are available from Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Toyota and others. These specially outfitted vehicles can be customized to include lowered floors, raised roofs, wheelchair lifts or ramps, tie-downs, and transfer seats . Wheelchair entry can be made on either the side or the back of the van. They can be custom made to your specifications, according to your ability. Choose more power features and remote control items if needed. Some of the features of adapted vehicles include parking brakes that are controlled by a switch and electric wheelchair locking systems. Different steering systems according to need are hand control, foot controls and joystick steering.
There is a new development from Hungary, a small electric handicap vehicle. It is called the Kenguru. This unique design holds only one person in a manual wheelchair. There are no seats. The driver simply rolls in through the large rear hatch, the wheelchair locks in place, and off they go driving with a joystick steering system. The Kenguru can reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour and costs about $13,000. This is great uplifting news for people looking for an adapted vehicle.
Daily life can be tough at times. Having an adapted vehicle brings freedom and life becomes much more enjoyable.