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Selecting the Right Wheelchair Van

  • Published: 2010-11-25 (Revised/Updated 2013-06-15) :
  • Synopsis: In considering the right wheelchair van for your needs you should ask yourself three basic questions.

Main Document

Quote: "A side-entry van is preferable for situations in which wheelchair users, like parents or independent individuals, prefer to drive or wish to be seated in the front passenger seat location."

Tips for selecting the right Wheelchair van for your needs.

In considering the right wheelchair van for your needs, you can ask yourself the three basic questions:

Who will use the wheelchair van

The size of the wheelchair, and the height of the wheelchair user, drive the option in picking a wheelchair minivan or a full-size handicap van. Also, one should take into consideration the van's compatibility with the users. That includes the user's status and lifestyle as to whether he or she is on the go and independent or is accompanied by family members and needs to be assisted. A side-entry van is preferable for situations in which wheelchair users, like parents or independent individuals, prefer to drive or wish to be seated in the front passenger seat location. Hand controls can be easily activated by connecting them into the van by screwing them into it, so that the handicapped driver can easily use brakes and the accelerator. A rear-entry van is a good choice for users who require a longer than average chair or those who require a tilted chair. This is also suitable for those who are accompanied by a care-giver because of the easy ingress and egress in the vehicle. In addition, it provides optional seating so that it can accommodate two occupied wheelchairs or additional rear bench seat for more passengers.

Where will the wheelchair accessible van travel

Minivans are fuel-efficient, good for short travels, easy to drive in traffic and easy to park because of their size. For family travel purposes and for the need to transfer additional cargo or medical equipment, full-size wheelchair vans are the best option. They are ideal if you have to go on long trips and need more storage space. Side-entry handicap vans have floors which are lowered, and this creates better slope that makes it easier for the wheelchair to roll into the vehicle. Furthermore, side-entry vans can easily park next to the curb for unloading the wheelchair user without needing to find a curb-cut corner of the street. Rear-entry vans have floors that do not have to be lowered and are better used in snow or mountainous regions. They can also park in limited space while still enabling the unloading of the wheelchair.

Finally, there are additional considerations associated with the question "what".

These include the safety features, duration of use and the cost to consider in purchasing the van needed. Safety equipment includes seat belts, wheelchair tie downs, the ramp and wheelchair straps and brackets.

The ramp which allows for an easy way of rolling in and out of the van must be installed with anti-skid features to prevent the wheelchair from sudden sliding and causing serious injury to the wheelchair-bound. There are options for motorized or manually controlled ramps.

The transfer seat, which allows the wheelchair user to be transferred to the driver's seat, is another optional modification that customers consider.

One should ensure that the wheelchair van passed the safety test required by law and is provided with warranty. For clients who believe they will be using the van for a long time, it pays to invest in acquiring a new van. However, if the need for it is relatively short or temporary, getting a used van can solve the problem. For used vans, opt for one which is not older than five years or has not been driven for over 50, 000 miles.

Make sure that all mobility adjustments concerning wheelchairs and driving controls are fully functioning.

For other needs that have to be addressed, modifications can be provided with the dealer of the wheelchair van. All of them can be patterned after the safety and convenience of the customer.

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