Buying a car at the best of times can be more difficult than many people think. There are so many options and choices available and it often boils down to seeing the right car at the right time. However, if you have a disability, it is even more important that you get the correct car for your needs.
Take the trouble to ask around and seek advice from other people on the type of service you can expect from individual companies. Do they listen? Will they make the extra effort to get you just what you need?
When buying a mobility car, the first bit of advice would be to do your research, lots of it, before you actually go to see a car. It is all too easy, once you actually set foot in a showroom and once you have the sales assistant in front of you, to compromise on what you really need. before leaving home, check out what is available for your particular requirements. You are the expert here. Only you will really know what is best for you.
If possible, you then need to visit a reputable dealer and see a number of vehicles which may potentially suit your specific requirements before making any level of commitment.
In all cases, you will need to take into account ease of access. Many saloon cars are low to the ground and if you have difficulty manoeuvring yourself into the vehicle, you are going to find you are wasting a lot of your valuable time and giving yourself unnecessary work. Modern 4 x 4 style vehicles are higher up, which, provided that they are not excessively so, may make them easier to get into and out of.
Check that the door opens widely enough for you to be able to manoeuvre yourself into the vehicle from a wheel chair if you have to. There are a number of adaptations available which may make access easier in this regard. These can include entering from the passenger side or even from the hatchback. Vehicle conversion specialists can make these changes for you. How you wish to gain access will play a major part in any conversions which need to be carried out.
Whether you have an upper or lower body disability will also determine which adaptations you may require. Options such as automatic transmission, direction indicators which are within easy reach by hand or foot; altering the side at which the handbrake is situated; joystick steering or something simple such as having a wheel knob fitted to the steering wheel can all help to make your life easier if you have an upper body disability.
Lower body disabilities almost invariably require automatic transmission although modern electronic transmission controls may provide an interim options with the removal of the clutch pedal but the presence of a semi-automatic gear selector, providing for a more traditional and, some could say, controllable driving experience.
The accelerator on an automatic car may need to be altered to the other side if you have right leg disability. Alternatively, hand controls may be appropriate for you if you are not able to use your lower limbs.
With any and all of these adaptations, you will need to research and then ask for expert advice. You will also need to be trained in the use of the vehicle where necessary and of course you will need to test drive the vehicle and be prepared to reject any changes if you find that they are not practical for you.
Even small changes or additions to your vehicle on their own may make a significant difference. Cushions, adapted mirrors, safety harnesses and even lighting can all significantly add to the vehicle’s comfort and ease of use. The time you spend in making your vehicle choice will be a good investment in ensuring the best possible choice.
Published by Gowrings Mobility. Gowrings are leading the way in wheelchair accessible vehicles, with a wide range of new and used mobility cars.