A Guide to Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles.

What is a WAV? Well,
you’ve probably seen one in the carpark, they generally have a sticker on the
back asking you to leave access for a wheelchair. So, yes, they are a
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle.


I don’t have one right
now but it may be something I’ll consider in the future. It would certainly be
useful to get my wheelchair in the car. We did take a look at some of the WAVs
on show at the Naidex Exhibition and they are very impressive. You can also get
a WAV from Motability if you are in receipt of a disability benefit for
mobility.
Having access to a
wheelchair accessible vehicle has literally changed the lives of many
wheelchair users, and their families or carers. Having a WAV allows a
wheelchair user to enjoy a more diverse, safer, and more satisfying way of
life.
The most common, and
the cheapest type of WAV is one that can accommodate one wheelchair user, the
driver and up to two other passengers. The vehicle is normally entered through
the back doors via a ramp and the wheelchair user travels in the rear section
of the vehicle. In most conversions, the floor level of the vehicle is lowered
so that the incline of the ramp is gentle enough for the wheelchair user to
propel themselves up and into position unaided, and to provide sufficient
headroom. The ramp folds up and down quite easily and is normally hinged in the
middle so that when it is folded up the driver still has a clear view to the
rear.
This type of vehicle
needs to be parked with enough room behind to deploy the ramp, and the
wheelchair user has to descend from the pavement into the road, and vice versa
in order to mount and dismount. For this reason, some people prefer a
side-entering arrangement so that the wheelchair enters and leaves directly
onto the pavement. These, however, are more expensive and not so common.
Instead of a ramp,
some WAVs have a remote controlled lifting platform which can be operated by
the wheelchair user or by an assistant. These require less operating room but
are again more expensive and they require regular maintenance to ensure that
they remain functioning correctly.
Once inside the
vehicle, the wheelchair is firmly anchored into the correct position for safe
travel. In most standard  WAVs the
wheelchair user travels in the rear part of the vehicle. If the user is
exceptionally tall this may be uncomfortable as there is not much headroom in
smaller models and also all-around vision is sometimes restricted. Some WAVs
are designed so that the wheelchair user can pass all the way through and into
the front of the vehicle, either as the passenger, or as the driver, and some
WAVs have interchangeable front seats so that the wheelchair user can
accommodate himself on either side.
WAVs can be purchased
new or used, rented or leased. To help you to decide which might be the best
way for you to obtain a WAV visit the website WAV Compare which contains all
the information you need about each of these different options. It also has
listings of vehicles for sale, and registered converters if you need to have a
customised adaptation done to accommodate your particular needs. The site
contains loads of useful tips and information about things to consider before
purchasing a WAV, and as it is written by a fellow wheelchair user, you will
find that it covers many relevant points which will help you to make the right
decision.
So as you can imagine,
choosing the right kind of WAV is really important and it’s vital that you get
the right information and help before you purchase one.

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

2 Comments

  1. debsrandomwritings
    April 3, 2017 / 6:22 am

    Hi Anne, how fantastic that there is a vehicle that accommodates wheelchairs. We had a friend who was quite severely physically disabled and when she was over, it was so hard getting her in and out of the car. A car like this would have made all the difference. I hope that you manage to get your super duper wheelchair and a vehicle like this to help make your life a little easier.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC. (Sorry it's a bit late)

    xx

  2. April 3, 2017 / 9:09 am

    Thanks Deb. My niece who has been wheelchair bound all her life has a WAV that she can drive herself from her wheelchair. They really do change lives. x

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