Even though you have some physical limitations and use a wheelchair to get around during the day, a wheelchair conversion van will allow you to continue to drive. This can be a welcome addition to your life because you don't need to rely on anyone else to get from place to place. However, if you don't know much about these vans and haven't gotten one in the past, overlooking important features or focusing on the wrong things can cause you to make a choice that you're unhappy with. To make a lasting, informed choice about a suitable conversion van, use these tips.
Consider Power Ramps
Manual ramps are available in some models; these ramps are usually under the driver seat platform and have to be pulled out so your chair can make it to the platform. Then, the ramp must be wheeled back in with the use of a turn handle. Depending on your upper body strength, manual ramps can be tough to operate and you might find yourself saving van use for emergencies only. If you plan to get around town often, a power ramp is easier to operate as long as you're able to push a button. Power ramps usually make a van cost more, but it could be worth it if you plan to travel a lot.
Check Head Room
Once you're sitting in a van on the seat platform, the height of your wheelchair could cause trouble. You might find that your head is touching the van ceiling. This could be a problem when you're getting out or getting in the vehicle. It can be uncomfortable to have the pressure of the ceiling on the top of your head during entire trips. Therefore, ensure that the van you select has enough room for you, your chair and your head without cramping.
Realize the Hand Controls Can Be Changed
You might look at a van and try it out only to discover that the hand controls don't feel natural or require too much strength to move. Disappointed, you may figure that the van isn't for you. However, if you like a particular conversion van, the good news is that you can have the hand control system changed. This will mean that you have to consider the cost of those changes when you buy a van, but that information can give you hope that hand controls are the sole consideration to focus on. Electronic Mobility Control (EMC) vendors can help you try out different systems to see which might best suit you.
Use these pointers to make a solid choice about the wheelchair conversion van you'll drive. Van retailers that specialize in helping the handicapped community, like Lone Star Handicap Vans, can be particularly helpful, so reach out to them along the way.