Depending on their ability, drivers with disabilities who use a wheelchair have a big decision: Picking an option for getting into and out of the drivers seat of a wheelchair accessible vehicle that best suits their needs.

With a little help from a friend

  • With help from a caregiver, family member or friend, many wheelchair users can get from their wheelchair into the driver seat. The helper can stow the wheelchair and retrieve it when getting out.
  • Other people with disabilities use a motorized transfer seat or a swivel seat. A transfer seat rotates inside the vehicle and a swivel seat will rotate outside of the vehicle. With or without assistance, the driver moves from the wheelchair to a transfer or swivel seat. Activate the motorized seat to return it to the driving position. Reverse the procedure when getting out.

Both of those solutions can require help. For maximum independence, a lift or ramp is required to first get you into the vehicle.

Lifts:

  • Without aid, a motorized platform raises the user and wheelchair to an entry level. A transfer seat base then provides the ability to transfer from the chair in the center section of a van to the driver position.
  • They come in platform styles as well as boom lifts, telescoping, light duty lifts and more.

Ramps:

  • When a ramp is combined with interior adjustments and power sliding doors, you can enter and drive the van without aid. A button stows the ramp and closes the door.
  • With removable front seats, the driver stays in the wheelchair and rolls into the driver position. Or you can transfer to a factory seat with the addition of a 6-way power transfer seat that slides back, turns sideways and raises or lowers you to the optimum transfer height.

To find the entry/exit style that is best suited to your needs, talk to a mobility expert.

The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.

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