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L.Srikumar Pai
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Handicapped People Have an Increasing Number of Vehicle Options For Mobility

Traditionally, mobility has been a challenge for handicapped people.

While mobility aids have certainly been developed - wheelchairs, mobility scooters, etc. - it can be hard for a person with physical handicaps to feel a sense of independence and the sense adventure that comes from being a road warrior, exploring new places and seeing new things. However, that is beginning to change thanks to advances in handicap transportation options.

A Wider Selection of Handicap Accessible Vehicles Is Improving Mobility

What is the driving force behind the change in the world of physical handicaps? A wider range of handicap vehicles is now becoming available. Usually, these are full-size conversion vans, though you will also find handicap accessible minivans with conversion kits that offer many mobility benefits. How do these vehicles benefit people with physical handicaps? What makes a handicap accessible vehicle a good purchase? Actually, a lot goes into creating a handicap van, if it is to truly offer independence, mobility and the hope of adding a bit of zest to life.

What Is Involved In Making a Van Handicap Accessible?

Height and depth are often the first changes made to a van destined to become a handicap vehicle. The floor needs to be lowered by a considerable amount, in order to ensure that wheelchair ramps can be installed with the lowest possible angle for ingress and egress. The ceiling must also be raised to accommodate the greater height of handicapped persons seated within a wheelchair. This ensures that people within a wheelchair have a direct line of sight out of the windows of the vehicle. Another change required in a wheelchair accessible van is a modification to the driver and passenger front seats.

The mounting systems for these two seats are usually changed so that the chairs (and their underlying supports) are removable. This ensures that the handicapped person can ride comfortably in either the passenger or the driver position. Wheelchair tie-down securement systems are also installed at this time, allowing the wheelchair to be secured to the vehicle's floor. This offers significant safety enhancement, and ensures that wheelchairs are not left free, which can be a very dangerous situation even during normal driving conditions.

Other modifications are made to these vehicles as well. For instance, a mobility scooter lift is often installed at the side door, which ensures that any scooter can be easily loaded and unloaded. Other modifications are made to the steering wheel and/or the pedal configuration, allowing handicapped people the ability to drive their own vehicle.

The Road To Freedom For Handicapped People

Taken together, these adaptive changes ensure that those with physical disabilities are able to gain independence and a greater sense of freedom. In short, adaptive, wheelchair accessible vehicles offer a renewed sense of adventure and a heightened quality of life for people with handicaps.

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