Rear view of man and woman driving in car

Wheelchair Vans Faqs

Answers to commonly asked questions

How difficult is it to operate a wheelchair ramp?

Not difficult at all. In fact, most side-entry minivans are fully automatic and deploy from the van with the push of a button. When you are done using the ramp to enter the van, you just push another button to stow the ramp and close the door.

Handicap vans with manual ramps are very easy for your loved ones to operate as well. Springs in the ramp take away much of the weight, making deploying the ramp and stowing it fast, safe, and easy. Rear-entry minivans work much the same way as side-entry vans, with either fully automatic or assisted manual conversions.

How do I know which lowered-floor minivan is best for me?

One of the mobility experts can help you by reviewing your specific needs and goals. If you would like to drive from your wheelchair, the side-entry fold-out ramp may provide the best solution because it provides the most flexibility. It allows for easy exit from the vehicle in case the power fails for any reason.

1. Drivers postion. With removable front seats, you can remain in your wheelchair and roll right up into the driver position. Transferring to a factory seat is also easy with the addition of a six-way power transfer seat that slides back, turns sideways and raises and lowers to the optimum transfer height.

2. Passengers position. 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.

3. Driver and passenger positions. You may want to consider the side-entry fold-out ramp with removable front seats. It allows the wheelchair user or others to access either seat in front, or to ride from the middle position in the van even with other passengers seated in the rear. A rear-entry van allows the person in the wheelchair to use a transfer seat to access the front driver or passenger seat, but does not allow access to the front seats with the wheelchair.

4. Traveling alone. 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. In-floor ramps slide into a compartment below the better solution if an attendant needs to accompany the person in the wheelchair. This type of van allows you to roll the wheelchair to a positon between the two middle seats of the van so others can sit next to the wheelchair.

Where can I park my wheelchair accessible van?

It depends on what type of entry your vehicle allows.

Rear-entry: Provides wheelchair or scooter access in narrow garages and standard parking lots without having to use specifically designed parking spaces. Larger scooters or tilt-space wheelchairs typically require more maneuvering room, so again, the rear-entry vehicle is the best solution.

Side-entry van: A good solution if you live in or travel to places where you may need to parallel park, or where you need to access your vehicle while parked on the streets, especially in inclement weather. Also appropriate if the wheelchair or scooter can be maneuvered inside the vehicle, or if you prefer to enter and exit in the forward-facing position.

All these factors and more play an important part in selecting the proper vehicle. A dealer in The Mobility Resource network near you will share knowledge with you to help you choose the most appropriate vehicle for your needs. You can also try out different types of adaptive vehicles so you can be sure to find the right solution to fit your needs.

Can I drive from my scooter?

No. Driving or even riding as a passenger while in your scooter is NOT recommended. For safe operation, you should always transfer to a properly installed automotive seat. Your local Mobility Resource dealer can show you the options available to make transferring safe and easy, including the Bruno’s transfer seat. A scooter should also 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 prescrive adaptive equipent, if necessary, to promote a safe driving experience for all.

Can I drive from my wheelchair?

In many cases, yes. Your local Mobility Resource dealer can show you a variety of options that allow you to drive from your wheelchair, including electric tie-down systems, steering controls and more. Transfer seats are also available to help you transfer from your wheelchair tie-down system will be needed to secure the wheelchair in case of sudden stop, start, or turn. If you plan to remain 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.

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