Vehicle Adaption’s for Handicapped…Must Read!
If you or someone you love is handicapped, you know how difficult it can be to do everyday activities. Driving is something that is no exception to this rule. I found a great resource that discusses some of the accessories/adaptations you can do to your stock vehicle to make driving easier and more pleasurable. This website seems to be from the UK, but hopefully can help anyone. There are also many resources available to help with financing, driving courses, etc.
Motoring accessories for disabled people
These accessories include:
- hand controls to operate the accelerator and brake
- steering wheel knobs that help you turn the wheel more easily and give greater control
- accessories to help you get in and out of your vehicle like wheelchair hoists, ramps and tail lifts
- cushions, covers and support
- adapted mirrors
- safety belts, seat belts and harnesses
- rotating seats
- people lifts
- wheelchair hoists
Adapting your vehicle for upper body disabilities
If you have lost the use of one arm or have a weakened arm, you may consider adaptations including:
- a steering wheel knob fitted to the rim of the steering wheel
- automatic transmission
- direction indicators and the horn within finger reach or as foot controls, which you can operate without letting go of the wheel
- moving the handbrake to the right of the driver’s seat
- joystick steering
If you have an artificial limb fitted below the elbow you can drive a car using a special concave limb attachment fitted over the steering wheel or the gear lever.
Even if you have lost the use of both arms, you can still drive with redesigned car controls. You could also try a foot steering system.
Adapting a vehicle for lower body disabilities
If you have lost the use of one of your legs or have reduced usage in one leg, the adaptations you may consider include:
- an automatic transmission car, which does not require the use of a clutch
- moving the accelerator on an automatic car to the left side of the foot brake if you have a right leg disability
- a semi-automatic clutch, which allows you to use a manual gearbox without clutch pedals
If you have lost the use of both legs, you may consider adaptations like:
- hand controls, especially with an automatic transmission
- steering assistance
If you get your car adapted or hire or buy an adapted car, it is important to get good advice and training on using the vehicle.
Adapting your vehicle for easier access
There are accessories and adaptations that can make it easier to get in and out of your vehicle. This may be particularly important if you use a wheelchair.
You may be able to get into your car from the driver’s side, passenger side or rear. Your choice of entry will determine the type of adaptations you need for your vehicle.
For entry from the driver’s or passenger’s door, you need wide doors and preferably a sliding and swivelling aid.
Vehicle conversion specialists produce wheelchair accessible vehicles.
Transferring from a wheelchair to your car
It can be difficult to transfer from a wheelchair into a car. You can use a board, lifting belts or leg lifters. There are also hoists, lifts to lift you and your chair into the car and specially converted cars or vans that you can drive your wheelchair into. [Source: Direct]
I recommend prior to purchasing a vehicle do your research to determine how easy it will be to make the necessary modifications you desire. Also check how wide the doors are and check the trunk space to identify if there is room enough to fit a wheelchair. All Cadillac’s, GMC’s and Buick’s can be customized for handicapped needs. And you get the bonus feature of OnStar which is great!