Whether you are a disabled driver or a passenger with a disability there are several types of vehicle adaptation that can be made to make travelling safer and more comfortable for you. Vehicle adaptations fall into three categories: driving adaptations, stowage adaptations, and access adaptations. Within each of these categories are a variety of different solutions designed to make life easier for disabled people.
There are several different ways in which a vehicle can be adapted in order to enable a disabled driver to operate the vehicle themselves. This is of great benefit to a disabled person in allowing them to retain their independence to some extent. In most cases the adaptations need to be made to a vehicle with an automatic vehicle, and depending on the adaptation then the vehicle can usually be used by an able bodied driver as well.
- Hand controls – These are ideal for amputees or people who may have limited use of their legs. A push/pull device allows the driver to control acceleration and braking by pushing or pulling a lever. If a vehicle has been fitted as standard with an electric throttle system then this can be adapted to be operated via a lever rather than the pedal. This type of hand control allows for a much lighter touch and is therefore less fatiguing to use than the manual push/pull lever.
- Left foot accelerators – Drivers who have difficulty using standard accelerator pedals due to limited mobility in their right leg may benefit from having a left foot accelerator pedal fitted in their vehicle. The original accelerator pedal is folded out of the way and can still be used by named drivers without mobility problems.
- Pedal modifications – Some drivers may have difficulty in reaching the standard pedals on a car so may benefit from having the pedals extended. Bringing the pedals closer to the driver allows them to control the car comfortably and easily.
- Steering aids – Some disabled drivers may have difficulty in holding or turning a standard steering wheel. If this is the case then steering wheel balls can be fitted to allow the driver to have more control when steering the vehicle. Where hand controls have been fitted in a car it’s usually essential that a steering wheel ball is also fitted; this allows the driver to operate the vehicle with one hand and steer with the other.
Getting a wheelchair in and out of a vehicle can be a difficult task due to the size and weight of the chair. However there are a variety of solutions to stowing and carrying a wheelchair in the vehicle.
Stowage Adaptations – Other Products we fit.
- Car boot hoists – A hoist will enable you to lift the wheelchair into the vehicle and secure it in place for safe travelling. Hoists are available for a variety of different weight classes, From a 40kg 2way hoist up to 150kg 4way powered hoist .
Access Adaptations - Other Products we fit.
- Rooftop storage – A hoist lifts the folded wheelchair into a storage box on the roof of your car, freeing up the boot. This can be useful when going on holiday and carrying a lot of extra luggage.
It’s likely that most disabled people will have some difficulty getting in and out of a car. There are several adaptations that can be made to a vehicle to allow a disabled person to access the vehicle much more easily and comfortably.
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- Swivel seats – A permanent swivel seat in a car will rotate 90 degrees and can usually be raised or lowered to allow the disabled person to lower themselves into the seat carefully then position the seat to where it needs to be. A wheelchair swivel seat is made up of two parts – the seat and the bottom half. These can’t be operated independently by the disabled person as the base of the wheelchair will need to be folded and stored in the vehicle once the user is in the car.