Wheelchair accessible vans are not just for people with disabilities. An accessible vehicle can ease the pain of driving if you suffer from arthritis or other joint diseases. It’s the little things about your car that can be excruciating—like getting into it, fastening your seat belt, turning the key to start the engine, steering, reversing, etc.
When purchasing a new or used vehicle, start with a mobility specialist at a mobility equipment dealership. They can help you weed out features for anyone with difficulties and choose modifications and adaptations to suit your particular driving problems.
Consider the following for ease when driving:
Getting in and out
- When getting into or out of a car, your hips and knees must be able to move at least 90 degrees. If yours don’t, a swivel seat might be the answer.
- If that’s still painful, ask about a turning seat; it automatically gets you from the seat to the ground and vice versa.
- Firm seats are best for those with arthritis, and a bench seat is easier than a bucket seat. Leather seats or a beaded seat cover help make sliding easier.
- Best of all is an electric adjustable 6-way transfer driver seat.
Doors and trunks
- Open and close the doors. If they are too heavy, consider another model.
- Look for trunks that open and close automatically.
Keyless, adjustable, automatic!
- Keyless entry and ignition lessen the stress on aching finger joints.
- Hand controls make it easier to control all aspects of the car.
- An adjustable steering wheel takes the ache out of your back and shoulders.
Check with a mobility equipment dealer for these and other features that will help keep you in the driver’s seat. Consider purchasing from a Quality Assurance Program (QAP) dealer who offers in-person evaluations and 24-hour emergency service.
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 vehicle please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.