Finding the Right Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV): A Customer’s Journey.
We recently teamed up with our partners at Southern Mobility Vehicles to bring you this useful guide on purchasing a WAV. Based in West Sussex, the dealership provides a wide a range of adapted vehicles to offer the best choice for wheelchair users and caregivers alike.
Are You New to WAVs?
If you’re a wheelchair user or a caregiver looking for a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV), you’re likely facing a daunting task. The world of WAVs is vast, with numerous vehicles and conversion options available. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when trying to find the perfect fit for your unique needs. Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate this complex journey alone.
The Quest for Wheelchair Access
A wheelchair accessible vehicle, or WAV, is a specialized vehicle that allows a wheelchair user to enter, travel within, and exit the vehicle without ever leaving their wheelchair comfortably and safely. These vehicles come in various shapes and sizes, each with its own set of features and benefits.
How can wheelchair users board WAVs?
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) are designed to provide mobility and independence to individuals who rely on wheelchairs for their daily lives. Central to their functionality is the way wheelchair users can effortlessly board and exit these specialized vehicles. We will now explore the various methods and features that WAVs employ to make this process safe, comfortable, and accessible.
This is the most common type of WAV entry. Ramps can be single piece, bi-fold, or trifold, offering ease of access with a shallow gradient. These conversions often lead to a lowered internal floor, providing more headroom.
While less common, side ramps are used in larger vehicles, particularly in the USA. Entry height can be restrictive unless the interior floor is lowered.
This is a rarer conversion where the front passenger seat is removed, giving the wheelchair user the premium spot in the WAV. It’s ideal for petite wheelchair users but can be challenging to manage.
Rear lifts are more common than side entry lifts. They offer vertical travel with no incline to face, but they typically don’t have lowered floors, retaining more of the original vehicle layout.
Side lifts are less common due to restrictive entry width, height, and internal manoeuvrability. Some have lowered internal floors to increase entry height.
Rear Lift High Roof
These vehicles have a higher roof and often larger dimensions, allowing for increased entry height and flexibility. They retain the original vehicle floor and provide greater internal height.
It’s important to note that not all these positions and conversions will be practical for every individual. Entry and internal dimensions, as well as the type of wheelchair, play significant roles in determining what works best for you.
Making Informed Choices
The sheer variety of WAVs available today can be overwhelming. Some models are iconic and long-lasting, while others were produced in small quantities or underwent changes that made them unsuitable for conversion. Rather than fixating on a specific make or model, seeking expert advice can save you time and stress.
The team of specialists at Southern Mobility Vehicles is there to guide you through the WAV selection process. They have comprehensive knowledge of all available conversions and vehicles, ensuring you can make an informed decision. With their assistance, you can confidently move forward toward your first or next suitable WAV.
Other Key Considerations
Choosing the right Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) involves more than just selecting the right entry type or model. Several other factors should be considered to ensure that your WAV meets your specific needs. Here are some additional considerations to keep in mind:
One of the fundamental decisions to make is whether you prefer a manual or automatic gearbox. The choice between these two transmission types can impact your driving experience, so consider what aligns best with your preferences and abilities.
Determine how many physical seats you require in your WAV. Beyond accommodating the wheelchair user, think about any additional passengers or family members who will travel with you regularly. Ensuring everyone has a comfortable seat is essential for a smooth journey.
If you currently own a car, van, or another WAV, you may want to explore the option of part exchanging it. This can provide financial flexibility and simplify the transition to your new WAV. Consider whether part exchanging your existing vehicle is the right choice for you.
WAVs are a significant investment, and you might need financial assistance to make the purchase. Explore your financing options to determine whether you require a loan or other financial arrangements. Southern Mobility Vehicles can provide information on finding suitable financing solutions tailored to your needs.
Your Path to the Right WAV
To find out more about Southern Mobility Vehicles and their range of vehicles, check out their website.
At Southern Mobility Vehicles, they’re committed to making your WAV search as smooth as possible. Take the first step toward your newfound independence today.