How to Make your Vehicle Wheelchair Accessible
According to figures from the NHS, approximately 1.2 million people in the UK use a wheelchair and two thirds of those do so regularly. For that proportion of the population, getting around can prove especially difficult, which is why it’s important that they have access to wheelchair-friendly vehicles.
For those with mobility problems, even the simplest pleasures in life, such as popping to the shops or visiting friends and family can become a real undertaking. But that doesn’t have to be the case if they have the right vehicle available to them.
But how to make your car wheelchair accessible? We’ve put together these handy tips.
Research and plan properly
First of all, you need to work out if your current vehicle can be converted to make it wheelchair accessible. Smaller cars, for example, may not be suitable, while if you have a large SUV that sits high off the floor, you may need to think about the possibility of including some form of lift mechanism.
It’s also worth taking into account the mileage and reliability of your car. If it’s an older model that has suffered mechanical issues in the past, it may not be the best idea to make any alterations, in case it breaks down and you have to make the same changes to a new car. Similarly, you need to make sure you’re aware of how much converting your vehicle will cost, including whether you will need an injection of money upfront to kick-start the process.
Choose your type of conversion
When making your alterations, there are two options available to you – side entry and rear entry. With the former, the wheelchair user has the ability to ride in the passenger seat or even operate the vehicle themselves if the required technology is in place.
As for rear entry, this can often prove the more cost effective solution because the process of removing the rear and adding a ramp is more straightforward. On top of that, it makes parking easier because you’ll never be trapped without the requisite room to gain access to the vehicle.
Consider the bigger picture
Making your vehicle wheelchair accessible is about more than just the car itself. You also need to consider access to and from the home and whether you have space on the drive to park a converted vehicle. Elements such as ramps leading from the home to the car need to be taken into account and, if you do not have private parking, you may need to think about positioning the car near a dropped kerb to make life easier.