When you are ready to purchase a vehicle that will accommodate a wheelchair, whether for yourself or a loved one, there are many things you must consider. There are many possibilities for this type of vehicle, starting with the type of vehicle that you want.
What type of vehicle do you want?
Of course, there are trade offs with every choice you make, and the vehicle you choose will be limited by whether you will be driving the vehicle and how mobile you are. If you have some mobility, you may want to get a van with a side door, but there are other vehicles that are capable of being adapted for a wheelchair if you will not be driving. In this case, not only are there a variety of vans to choose from, but you can also consider a range of SUVs and trucks.
The pros of side access
This is a common wheelchair configuration on vans. Because of the sliding door, it is only a matter of lowering the ramp and moving your wheelchair. The good news is that if you want to drive the van, then you will have your wheelchair close to the driver’s seat, but you will need a certain amount of ability to move from the wheelchair to the driver’s seat.
The cons of side access
There are issues with the side door access design. The first is that the wheelchair will take up at least two spaces of seating, so the van will only accommodate a total of four people, two in the front and two in the back. There is also the issue of the ramp device getting in the way because it tends to be bulky. The issue that seems to be the biggest is parking. Side accessible vans need space for the ramp, and even when there are handicap spots available, they still may not provide enough space. When you cannot find a spot with clearance for the ramp, you may end up parking far from your destination.
Rear access vans
The problem of parking becomes much easier when you have a rear access vehicle. The ramp lowers, and you leave the van. Not only this, but you are not taking up any of the seats for passengers. The vehicle still seats five, plus your wheelchair. Of course, you won’t be able to drive the vehicle, but this may not be an issue. You are also far from the driver, so if it is only you two, conversation may be difficult.
There is a lot to consider when shopping for wheelchair accessible vehicles. The information above should be helpful.