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Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV)

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV)

Contrary to popular belief, wheelchair users also have the capability to drive their own vehicles. All it takes is the proper equipment specially made for the wheelchair user.

Should you as a wheelchair user, be interested in driving your own vehicle, consult with an assessment centre near you about adaptive equipment. At the centre, your motoric functions will be evaluated as well as your medical history and road capabilities.

Once you have been evaluated, specific adaptive equipment will be recommended and you will be trained how to use the new equipment properly.

Many car manufacturers including Toyota, Ford, and GMC offer the type of equipment wheelchair users need to drive their own vehicles. The most commonly used equipment is a wheelchair lift that lifts the wheelchair and its user into the vehicle.

Other equipment used are controls that adapt to the wheelchair users driving needs, including controls which control the vehicles accelerator and brakes that can be used by the push of some buttons. Depending on the wheelchair user modifications to the foot pedals or steering can be carried out.

Apart from the standard modifications, the vehicle itself should be customised specifically for the wheelchair user who will be driving the vehicle. This means that space must be created to accommodate for the users wheelchair or if the user is not seated in the wheelchair whilst driving then space must be there to stow the wheelchair. This space is created by raising the roof as well as lowering the flooring.

When the wheelchair users is driving the vehicle, it is important to have safety features to make sure that the wheelchair does not move around whilst the vehicle is in motion. For this reason, different types of restraints have been developed.

Other features such as keyless entries with self opening doors are also available to the wheelchair user, this makes it easier for the user to enter the vehicle.

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