How to choose your wheelchair accessible vehicleedit
As anyone who has a disability which affects mobility knows, being able to travel while experiencing minimal disruption to your day-to-day life is invaluable.
Often, public transport isn’t accessible or accommodating for wheelchair users. That’s why wheelchair accessible vehicles, or ‘WAVs’ as they’re more commonly referred to, are a key part of retaining an independent lifestyle.
But just like when shopping for any vehicle, it’s important to resist the temptation to buy the first one you see. When choosing a WAV, it’s especially important to do research and make sure your vehicle is perfectly suited to your needs.
It’s best to start by making a checklist of the modifications you’ll need for your individual circumstances, so when browsing vehicles online or visiting showrooms you’ll be able to match your requirements to the specifications of the vehicles available.
First of all, think about the size of your wheelchair. Your WAV will need to have at least enough space for it to fit in, or more if you have two wheelchairs and often travel with both.
Also consider how many people you are likely to be travelling with. Most WAVs are available in small, medium or large. A small WAV can usually seat four passengers, whereas a large WAV such as a minibus can seat up to six wheelchair users, more suitable if you regularly travel with a large group of people.
As you’d expect, WAVs are available with a range of modifications. These include built in folding ramps for easier access (some large WAVs even have lifts) and wheelchair tie-downs for optimum safety when travelling.
In addition, folded seats which can be tucked away depending on the number of passengers or amount of space required, lowered floors or higher roofs which accommodate extra headroom and options for side or back entrances are all features which are designed to make travelling easier for wheelchair users.
Just like when buying a standard car, second hand WAVs are also available, so there’s no need to worry if your budget is restricted. But, help is also available through disability grants and the Motability scheme.
Once you’ve got the keys to your new vehicle, you’ll need to make sure you’re fully insured before you can drive away. At Fish Insurance, our insurance policy for wheelchair accessible vehicles and cars adapted for disabilities offers significant discounts for registered disabled drivers and Blue Badge holders, so you can feel confident and protected on the road.