Having a car is convenient for most of us, but there are some that can’t really enjoy and use its benefits. The few that couldn’t get convenience out of vehicles are the elderly and the disabled that are sitting in wheelchairs. While it is easy for a few people to carry a person with disabilities and get him or her inside the car, it is not particularly a comfortable and convenient experience for the disabled.
If you have a family member or any loved one that is confined in a wheelchair, then it would be a great idea to get a wheelchair conversion van, otherwise known as a wheelchair-accessible van. This type of vehicle looks like a normal van from its exterior, but when you look at its interior, it has a built-in ramp or lift that allows the elderly and disabled to get inside the van with ease. Here are the benefits of wheelchair conversion vans to help you decide if you really need to get one.
Benefits of Wheelchair Conversion Vans
The main benefit of having a wheelchair conversion van is to make it easier for the disabled and elderly to go inside your car. But there are many more benefits that you can discover once you get the vehicle. Here are the advantages of wheelchair conversion vans.
Safer for Disabled Passengers
Wheelchair conversion vans are considered to be much safer for passengers to ride in compared to normal vehicles, as the ramp or lift provides a safe and easy passage inside the van. With the help of the wheelchair ramp or lift, the disabled and elderly don’t need to get out of their wheelchair and be carried by another person just to get inside the car, which can sometimes be dangerous if the person carrying doesn’t have proper balance.
Most highly-rated wheelchair conversion vans have tie-downs or straps on their lifts so that the wheelchair will stay in place securely while the lift is activated. In addition, great lifts and ramps have stable flooring that prevents the wheelchair from rolling excessively, thus giving the disabled and their caretaker better control of the wheelchair while getting inside the van. Before they can be sold, wheelchair conversion vans should pass numerous safety tests to ensure that they are 100% safe for people on wheelchairs.
More Comfortable to Use
Without wheelchair ramps or lifts, disabled and elderly people that are on wheelchairs wouldn’t have a comfortable experience getting inside the van. When wheelchair conversion vans weren’t popular back then, the disabled were usually carried by their loved ones to get in and out of cars. While carrying them is a fast way to get them to ride vans and other vehicles, it surely is uncomfortable for most of them, especially if they get sensitive bodies that can experience aches in the slightest movement.
Wheelchair conversion vans offer a safer and more comfortable way to get a disabled passenger into a vehicle. The first reason why it is more comfortable is that the person that will be using it doesn’t have to get out of his or her wheelchair, so they don’t have to stand up or be carried while going inside the van. The second reason is that the ramp or lift offers a smooth ride that won’t have bumps or accidental jolts, which can cause body aches. So, with wheelchair conversion vans, you will provide your loved one or family member with comfort and safety while traveling or going on a road trip.
More Spacious Interior
Wheelchair conversion vans are known to have a spacious interior, so they can actually accommodate more passengers compared to normal vans. Most wheelchair-accessible vans are able to accommodate up to two passengers in wheelchairs, which is quite a lot since one wheelchair can already fill at least two seats.
Depending on the size of the van, up to nine passengers can get inside the vehicle because of the spacious interior. In addition, you don’t need to fold the wheelchair inside the van to get the disabled or elderly to a comfortable seat, as the wheelchair itself can already serve as a passenger seat, as long as it is strapped in or secured in a specific location in the vehicle.
Wheelchair Ramp vs. Wheelchair Lift
There are two ways for people on wheelchairs to get passage inside the van, and these are through a wheelchair ramp or a wheelchair lift. There are pros and cons for the two, so it is important to look at them in detail to know which one you think is suitable for your desired van. Here are some details about the wheelchair ramp and the wheelchair lift.
The wheelchair ramp is arguably the simpler of the two, as it is just a basic ramp with a slip-free surface so that the wheelchair won’t roll down quickly. Besides being the simplest, wheelchair ramps are also less expensive, as they don’t usually have complex parts that can increase the price of the tool.
However, there are more expensive wheelchair ramps that can automatically extend out so that you don’t have to pull the ramp yourself. These ramps, which are often called power wheelchair ramps, are operated using a remote controller that can also open the door for the passenger. The one downside to wheelchair ramps is that they can often occupy too much space in the garage or the vehicle’s parking spot, so they cannot be used in narrower locations like alleyways or crowded parking areas.
A wheelchair lift is more advanced than its ramp counterpart, as it operates like an elevator that raises the passenger up so that he or she doesn’t need to move or roll the wheelchair anymore, unlike in ramps where they still have to move forward to get inside the vehicle. Because it is more advanced, the wheelchair lift is pricier than wheelchair ramps, as it has multiple parts that are already expensive on their own.
The wheelchair lift is great to use for narrower areas, as it doesn’t consume too much space compared to the wheelchair ramp. However, the drawback to wheelchair lifts is that they can also be difficult to maintain, as maintenance can be pricey, and it is hard to find replacement parts.
Those are the things that you need to consider when buying a wheelchair conversion van. For the sake of your loved ones that are aging or disabled, you should get a wheelchair-accessible van or convert your existing van to be wheelchair-friendly. By doing so, checkups and trips with your family members or friends can be more comfortable, safer, and convenient.