If you use a wheelchair to get around, it can be difficult to transfer from the chair into and out of a vehicle that is not modified. While it is possible to have a car seat swivel to allow for an easier transfer, using a van that will hold the wheelchair while you are sitting in it is the best option for you and your family. You can choose between a full-sized van or a minivan to be modified. If you prefer a minivan, consider the following options to make the conversion everything that you need.
Lower the Floor
A minivan does not have enough height inside or through the door for an occupied wheelchair to fit. Instead of having the roof of the vehicle raised, the way a full-sized van is modified, have the floor lowered. This will reduce the incline angle of a ramp, or the distance a lift must travel to get the chair into the vehicle.
To make it possible to get into and out of the minivan without assistance from anyone, the following modifications can be made:
- Kneeling system to lower the side to the ground a few inches
- Entry ramp or lift that slides under the body of the vehicle
A remote control system will operate the motor to handle these modifications. The remote can be kept in a pouch in the wheelchair.
Removable Front Seats
You do not have to sit behind the front seats all the time. In fact, you can have it so both front seats are removable. This will allow you to drive the minivan or ride as a passenger. Once you have become accustomed to the chair, and build your arm muscles, you may even be able to put the seats in or out as needed on your own.
If you will be driving the vehicle, modifications must be included that take your situation into account. Hand-operated gas pedals and brakes can be installed as well as a joystick for steering if you do not have proper mobility in your arms.
Needing a wheelchair for mobility does not mean you need to be at the mercy of friends or relatives to get in and out of a vehicle. It also does not mean that you will never drive. While driving or riding in a passenger car have the problem of storing the chair on your own, modified vans provide you with total independence. When shopping for your van, make sure you get all the options you want and need. They will make transportation much easier. For further assistance, contact professionals, such as those from Alaska Mobility.