Adaptive Van FAQ
Are the ramps difficult to operate?
No. Most side-entry minivans are fully automatic. With the push of a button, the power door will open, the van will lower to the ground and the ramp will deploy. Once inside, just push another button to stow the ramp, raise the van and close the door. In no time, you’re on your way easily and safely!
Handicap vans with manual ramps are very easy for your loved one to operate as well. Ramps are built with springs that take much of the weight away from the operator, making stowing and deploying fast, safe and easy. Rear-entry minivans work much the same way as side-entry vans, either fully automatic or assisted manual conversions.
Which lowered-floor minivan is best for me?
Your needs and goals are specific to you, something your local Mobility Resource Dealer knows. If you are a driver who would like to drive from your wheelchair, the side-entry fold-out ramp may provide the best wheelchair transport solution. The side-entry offers the most flexibility. With removable front seats, the driver can remain in the wheelchair and roll right up into the driver position. Transferring to a factory seat is easy with the addition of a six-way power transfer seat that slides back, turns sideways and raises or lowers to the optimum transfer height. The fold-out ramp allows for an easy exit from the vehicle in case the power ramp fails for any reason.
As both a driver and passenger, the side-entry fold-out ramp with removable front seats allows the wheelchair user or others to access either front seat. The wheelchair user can also ride from the middle position of the van while others sit on the rear sofa. A rear-entry van allows the person in the wheelchair to transfer to the front driver or passenger seat with the addition of a transfer seat, but does not allow access to the front seats with the wheelchair.
If you use a wheelchair and are only going to be a passenger, either the side- or rear-entry van will work, depending on other circumstances.
If you travel alone, the side-entry fold-out ramp may be the best solution as discussed above. However, if others need to access the rear of the vehicle, an in-floor side-entry ramp may be your best bet. The in-floor ramp slides into a compartment below the floor to allow access to the passenger-side sliding-door entry. If an attendant needs to be with the person in the wheelchair, a rear-entry van may allow the wheelchair to roll between the two middle seats of the van, allowing others to sit next to the person in the wheelchair.
Where can I park my adaptive van?
A rear-entry vehicle allows wheelchair or scooter access to the vehicle in narrow garages and standard parking lots without having to use specially designed parking spaces. However, this is not the best solution if access is required in parallel-parking situations or when needing to access a vehicle parked on the street, especially in inclement weather. In those situations, the side-entry van is a better choice.
It should be noted that larger scooters or tilt-in-space wheelchairs may not have the maneuvering room to turn in a side-entry van. Therefore, the rear-entry may provide the best solution because it involves straight-line entry and egress. Those who can maneuver inside the vehicle and prefer to enter and exit the vehicle in the forward-facing direction may prefer the side-entry.
All these factors and more play an important part in selecting the proper vehicle. The Mobility Resource Dealer in your area will share their knowledge with you and help you choose the most appropriate vehicle for your needs. You can also try out different types of adaptive vehicles so that you can be sure you find the right solution to fit your needs.
Can I drive from my scooter?
No. It is NOT recommended that you ride from the seat of the scooter while in a vehicle. For safe operation, the person in the scooter should always transfer to an automotive seat properly installed in the vehicle. Your local Mobility Resource Dealer can show you the options available to make transferring safe and easy, including the Braun transfer seat. A scooter should always be restrained with an appropriate wheelchair tie-down system to secure the scooter in the vehicle in case of a sudden stop, start or turn. If the driver has physical limitations, The Mobility Resource always recommends an evaluation by a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist (CDRS) prior to driving. A CDRS can evaluate your physical abilities and prescribe adaptive equipment, if necessary, to allow for a safe driving experience for all.
Can I drive from my wheelchair?
In many cases, yes! Your local Mobility Resource Dealer has a variety of options that allow you to drive from your wheelchair, including electric tie-down systems, hand controls and more. Transfer seats are also available, allowing the individual to transfer out of the wheelchair into an automotive seat. If the individual with the wheelchair will be transferring to a standard automotive seat once inside the vehicle, then a wheelchair tie-down system will be needed to secure the wheelchair in case of sudden stop, start or turn. If the individual in the chair will be remaining in the wheelchair while traveling, then both a wheelchair restraint system and occupant restraint system will be required. Your local Mobility Resource Dealer can assess your particular situation and install the required safety systems in your vehicle.