A wheelchair van is a large vehicle that has either been custom built or specially modified in order to accommodate a person in a wheelchair. There are several different types of modifications that can be made, depending upon the size and layout of the van, the size of the wheelchair, and the position of the wheelchair in the vehicle. Whether you decide to purchase one of several different pre-adapted vehicles, or if you conduct your own wheelchair van conversion on a standard model or an existing car, it’s a good idea to determine which accessories are available to you before you begin so you can best plan out your purchaser. Read on for a brief overview of the different accessories that are most commonly outfitted on wheelchair accessible vans.
1 – Hydraulic Lift
The single most common accessory for a wheelchair accessible van is a hydraulic lift. This typically attaches to the passenger side door or, in the case of a larger vehicle, to the sliding door at the side of the vehicle. The lift moves by hydraulic power, and is used to help raise the wheelchair up to the level of the van floor so it can easily roll onto the car. Without one of these lifts, the process of accessing a van can be quite difficult for anyone who makes use of a wheelchair.
2 – Modified Seat
If you are in a wheelchair and you intend to drive, there are a couple of different options. One of them is a combination of a driver’s side hydraulic lift and a special driver’s seat. These typically provide additional room for the wheelchair so you’ll be able to fit comfortably in the driver’s area. Other cars remove the driver’s seat altogether.
3 – Pedal Extenders
If driving in a wheelchair proves difficult because of the distance of the driver’s feet to the pedals, there are specially designed pedal extenders that can be used to help the driver to better access the pedals. This eases the driving process and allows for the driver to best make use of their wheelchair in the vehicle.
4 – Access Ramp
If you choose not to make use of a hydraulic lift, or if you cannot afford one, there are a variety of portable and customized access ramps to use instead. These ramps can be attached to the side entrance of a van in order to allow the passenger who makes use of a wheelchair to better access the vehicle. Different ramps have different degrees of slope, so it’s best to test them out before you make your purchase.
If you have any additional questions about wheelchair van accessories, speak with a professional in your area for more information. Many of these accessories can also be ordered online, so it’s a good idea to check out the Internet for additional assistance as well.