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Having a disability does not disqualify you from driving any vehicle model. However, there are specially designed vehicles that are more ideal for disabled drivers. Today, such vehicles range from SUVs, coupes, sedans, and vans. Below are some of the best cars for handicapped drivers.
· The Severity of their mobility Challenges
Table of Contents
For disabled drivers who do not need wheelchairs to navigate around and those who have great upper body strength albeit using wheelchairs, SUVs, coupes, and sedans are ideal.
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· How Critical are Convenience and Practicality?
Minivans and conversion vans provide a robust convenience and practicality. For instance, drivers do not have to rise from the wheelchair to the seats as with SUVs, sedans, and coupes.
· Have you Factored Current and Future Needs?
Many mobility-challenged drivers suffer from different conditions such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis which can reduce their agility and strength as they age. For instance, an individual who is mobile enough to use a sedan may have difficulties using the same car in the future.
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· What is the Weather Condition?
Consider the suitability of the vehicle in comparison to the year-round climate patterns in your area of residence.
· Have you Incorporated the Services of a Professional Mobility Vehicle Dealer?
A mobility vehicle dealer understands the available options to shoppers and is better placed to recommend the ones that meet your needs. With his guidance, you can choose an appropriate vehicle that can serve you well both now and in the future. Many vehicle models available today can be converted to accommodate the needs of a disabled driver.
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What Cars are Easiest to get in and Out of?
You may decide to buy a vehicle that offers convenience in terms of getting in and out for various reasons. Perhaps you are handicapped, a parent with young school going children who need regular loading and unloading, or are old or taking care of old people.
Features that make a car easily accessible include, a big door opening, a low door sill, an appropriately located grab handle, or a moderately placed seat (not too high or low) People with reduced mobility and those who utilize wheelchairs will be glad to learn that vehicle manufacturers have made huge strides in ensuring that vehicles are more accessible.
If your car is not easily accessible, various manufacturing companies today have gadgets that can assist you to access your car regardless of the magnitude of your disability. With good financing options available today, mobility challenged drivers can own their dream cars. Here are 10 cars that can be modified to meet the needs of disabled drivers.
1. Hyundai Sonata
The Hyundai Sonata is among the low strain mid-sized vehicles in the market. The car comes with an exclusive warranty and robust reliability. It features a low ride height making it easily accessible to the mobility challenged drivers.
Further, it comes with supportive seats making it convenient for drivers to sit comfortably in various positions. Additional features include an easy to utilize smart system for ease of calling for assistance or asking for directions.
2. Scion xB
The Scion xB is a small yet powerful commuter car. It can be fitted with a scooter or wheelchair lifts, hand controls, manual and power swivel seats, and wheel restraints with ease.
3. Ford Mustang
THe ford Mustang is popularly known for its sports reputation. It comes with hand controls, carriers, power assisted seats, lifts, and steering gadgets. This car also comes with a disability compensation program with a $1,000 maximum limit just as its competitors.
4. Subaru Forester
The Subaru Forester is ideal when it comes to transporting you to your preferred location. Whether you choose to drive off road deep in the countryside, go for an adventure driving in the desert, or even go snow camping, this is the car you need.
It features an automatic transmission, robust reliability, and all-wheel drive option. All Subaru models can be modified to include accessibility features such as pedal extensions and foot and hand control.
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5. Jeep Grand Cherokee
If you love driving off-road, this car is designed for you courtesy of Chrysler Group’s Automobility Program. The Jeep can be fitted with various modifications such as running boards, lifts, power seats, and wheelchair tie downs. Further, all conversions executed qualifies the user to a $1,000 maximum compensation.
6. Chevrolet Silverado
The Chevrolet Silverado comes with hinged doors and a wheelchair lift. It is ideal for you if you love rugged cars and features a sturdy and big body. This vehicle comes in handy when you need to execute various tasks.
General Motors, the manufacturer has a mobility compensation program which aids car modification and travel, making it easy for handicapped individuals. If you purchase this car, you will receive a two year Onstar protection and a $1,000 compensation
7. Kia Soul
The Kia Soul stands out among its competitors. It comes with an upright boxy design and is both practical and sport stylish. While it features a compact appearance, it has sufficient space due to its height.
Additionally, it has big doors and low floors to ensure that handicapped people can enter and exit with ease. Apart from the massive space in the car, it is among the cheapest options available in the market today.
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8. Honda Odyssey
The Honda Odyssey exhibits a great fuel economy, car-like handling, and compact safety scores which places it among the best minivans list for handicapped drivers. This vehicle is a good alternative to SUVs and comes with loads of space.
Individuals can enter and exit it with ease since it has big sliding doors and low floors. This car is easy to modify for a variety of mobility needs. For instance, it can be fitted with step and roll front seats allowing a wheelchair to take the place of the driver’s seat where necessary.
The MV-1 is the inaugural purpose designed accessible vehicle in the world. Everything about it is specially designed to help the handicapped people. Some of its features include safety lights, a big sized interior power ramp that positions are two different position ratios.
10. VMI Honda Pilot Northstar E
The VMI Honda Pilot Northstar E SUV is the biggest and latest addition in the handicap accessible vehicle in the market. It satisfied all the needs of a mobility challenged person especially those who use wheelchairs.
It comes with a 32-inch clear door that enables wheelchair users to enter and exit the vehicle safely and with ease. The ramp stows and positions itself under the floor conveniently and with ease. This creates more space to accommodate tall wheelchair users.
With the removable front seats, vehicle owners can create different seating arrangements. Further, this car comes with a 3,500 lbs towing capacity, which makes it robust and worth owning.
Purchasing one of these vehicles is an excellent decision for handicapped people. All of them are reliable, comfortable, and spacious. What’s more, many of their manufacturers offer compensation programs which make them the ultimate choice.
How do I get a free disability car?
If you have mobility challenges, getting a vehicle can be more challenging. Having one, however, helps you run errands or attend medical appointments with ease. If you want a free car to facilitate easy movement, you can do so through the following ways.
How to Get a Free Car if You are a Resident of the US
· Prepare your Credentials
Collect all paperwork and proof indicating why you need a car. A clear explanation showing how the car will influence your life in a positive way can convince authorities to grant it to you. Include the following documents;
- Proof of expenses. Highlight how much you spent on housing, food, utilities, and other necessities per month. Compare the expenses with your disability income that is if you are registered under SSDI (Social Security Disability Income). this will help you indicate your inability to afford a car.
- Proof disability. Include doctor’s notes and medical records and social security disability income check stubs where applicable.
- Indicate tangible reasons to show why you need a car. Illustrate the reasons why having reliable transportation is a necessity. Remember to include the reasons why you cannot use public transport.
- Strategize on how you will cater for gas, insurance, registration, and maintenance costs. While you can get a free car, you have to cover the other expenses from your own earnings.
Consider that the car should be registered and insured via the state. Further, it needs to be serviced every four to six months. If you cannot afford these expenses, remember to mention it when requesting for a free car.
· Attempt for Free Charity Cars
Some people donate their old cars to non-charitable organizations. These then receive a tax write-off after which the organizations donate them to people who need them. You could qualify for a free charity from a non-profit making organization if you are:
- Medically needy
- A domestic violence victim
- A natural disasters victim
- Living and working under the national poverty line
- Transitioning to working from public assistance
- Dwelling in a transitional shelter
The requirements vary depending on the organization. All you should do is tell your story in a compelling manner and have your friends vote for you extensively.
· Discuss Your Situation with Local Churches
Many churches are also non-profit making organizations. This means that people often donate their cars to churches and later claim them as a tax write-off. If the church members and leaders know your situation, somebody could just donate the car to you via the church.
You can stand a better chance if you are a regular church attendee. Present all the information explained in step one to your church leader and find out whether they can be of any help. However, do not join a church just because you need a free car.
Of course, a good church cannot give you a car in exchange for your beliefs. However, for your own conscience, it is better to factor in the integrity of any organization that extends such help and generosity to you.
· Talk to Non-profit Organizations that Deal with your Specific Disability
Find out whether organizations that help people with your specific type of disability exist and whether they run free car programs. You can search for such organizations on the internet. In many cases, they may not offer free cars but can have flexible payment or low-cost programs with little to no interest.
· Contact Auto Mechanics
Mechanics are experienced and capable of fixing vehicles. They can encounter one that they can fix at a low cost and one that can meet your needs. If you are lucky, a relative or even a random generous person can either give you a loan at a low or no interest to cater for the expenses or even clear them free of charge. You can also try to convince the mechanic to fix such a car for you at a discounted price or give you reasonable payment terms.
· Networking is important
Connect with as many people as possible. This way, you have a better chance of finding someone who is willing to sympathize with your situation and eventually help you. It is normal for non-sociable people to feel awkward about this point. However, sometimes all you have to do to get what you want is get out of your comfort zone.
Overcome any feelings of pride or shame as they can prevent you from asking for help. Remember, we all need help at some point in life and asking for something you genuinely need should not make you feel ashamed. Further, you can identify strategies you can employ to be of help to people such as babysitting, tutoring, or helping people fix their broken items.
Try to be kind. You never know what it might bring you in return. Today, people are using social platforms to communicate with large audiences and get for genuine situations. Tell your story in person and reach out to the masses and request for help. Many people have had their problems solved by total strangers just because they shared their plight on social media.
Determine Whether a Car is a Necessity
Evaluate how much you need a car. What difference will it make in your life? Will it be beneficial? Can you still continue with your normal life without one? How about renting a car? Will it be more cost effective compared to the hassles you have to go through in search of a free car? The answers to these questions should help you figure out whether or not to continue with your search or to leave it altogether.
How to Get a Car if you Reside in the UK
If you live in the UK, you should make a disability application with a mobility component. Having a Disability Living Allowance in the UK means that you can utilize part of your money to pay the car lease from Motability and cater for gas and other car expenses.
Remember, Motability has been facing extensive scrutiny recently. Therefore, ensure you genuinely qualify to get a car prior to making the application. This saves you from undergoing a tangled situation in the future.
If you are not on Disability Living Allowance, the tips mentioned above for people living in the US will come in handy save for the free charity cars. All you need to do is let people know about your needs. You never know how many people could be willing to offer assistance.
What is Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle?
A wheelchair accessible van is a vehicle that has been modified to enhance its interior size to furnish it with an ideal means to facilitate the easy entry and exit of a wheelchair.
Considerations to Make when Choosing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
Searching for the ideal wheelchair accessible vehicle either for you or somebody else can be an arduous task. What with the wide variety of WVAs available in the market whose benefits and features vary too? Below are factors to consider which will help you identify the perfect mobility vehicle suitable for your needs.
Size is a critical factor to consider. If you are a frequent traveler, you may want to have sufficient space for your luggage. Do you have school going children that will need to be dropped and picked from school?
You will need a spacious car that can accommodate them comfortably. Just like ordinary cars, smaller cars are often the cheapest which means that you should consider this while making your decision.
Some WAV manufacturers have a variety of mobility vehicles which vary from three and four-seaters to five and seven-seaters. Handicapped people are guaranteed to find a vehicle that meets their needs.
· Manual or Automatic
Determine whether you are comfortable with a manual or an automatic vehicle. You can find the car of your choice from different manufacturers and car dealers.
Since many wheelchair accessible vehicles need to be accessed through a lift or ramp, they require extra conversion because many of them lack a built-in attachment. Consider any required conversions when budgeting for a mobility car. Many qualified manufacturers can modify vehicles to meet your needs.
There are three types of wheelchair ramps specially designed for cars. They are the mid-folding ramp. These folds into two which makes it easy to store. The standard manual ramp comes attached using a hinge. It folds out from the car’s rear and is the cheapest of the three. The hydraulic assisted ramp can easily fold out for fast loading and unloading.
If a wheelchair user requires more assistance when entering and exiting the car, a lift could be the best option. There are various lift options which include, a side entry lift which is utilized as a platform that rises and lowers the wheelchair user from the vehicle’s side.
The rear platform lift is powered via remote control. Many of the WAVs available in the market today are have a remote controlled electronic winch which makes it easier for a wheelchair user to go up or down the ramp safely.
· New or Used?
If you cannot decide between buying a used or new WAV, consider purchasing a used model. There are several of those in the market today and wheelchair users are guaranteed to find one that satisfies their desires.
Available Mobility Vehicle Types
There are various types of wheelchair accessible vehicles which are; ride up front, rear passenger, transfer seat, and drive from a wheelchair.
· Rear Passenger
This wheelchair vehicle type enables the user to access it through the rear and continue sitting on their wheelchair throughout the journey. They are often the most affordable for people traveling in a wheelchair.
If a wheelchair user prefers sitting at the front of the car perhaps to enjoy the scenery during the journey and interact with other car occupants, this car can be ideal. This type of wheelchair accessible vehicle enables the user to access the vehicle from the rear but sit in front at the passenger side as opposed to behind.
While many wheelchair users may prefer this type, it means that the car will lose one seat to create a way for the wheelchair to access the front with ease. Car owners should consider this especially if they plan on having other passengers in the car.
· Drive from Wheelchair
Some WAVs come with a variety of adaptations which allow a wheelchair user to drive from their wheelchair. However, these can be quite expensive and require a specifically qualified professional to execute them.
· Transfer Seat
Some WAVs can be fitted with swivel seats which eases transfer from a wheelchair to the seat. The wheelchair can then be kept at the back of the car.
When choosing your ideal wheelchair accessible vehicle, consider the needs of the wheelchair user. Ensure that it is well suited and comfortable. With the current advancements in the automobile industry, wheelchair users should be able to drive comfortably regardless of the level of their disability.