Mobility Van Features
Handicap Vans are specially modified vans for the sole purpose of enabling wheelchair-bound people who otherwise would not be able to be transported, to get inside a car, usually as a passenger, but in some cases even as a driver. Luckily there are many car manufacturers out there who have specialized in the conversion of their standard vans into reliable Handicap Vans. There are numerous standard features to make life easier for wheelchair-bound passengers.
Features of a Handicap Van
Side or Rear Entry
Some vans can be accessed via a side entry while others feature a rear entry. Both types have their own advantages and can be chosen according to personal requirements or preferences. The advantage of a side entry is that the vehicle can be entered safely from the curb if the vehicle is parked on a road. This will make entering a lot safer for both the passenger as well as for the person who may assist. Vehicles with a side entry are often for handicapped people who are still able to drive on their own. Vans with a rear entrance generally have the advantage of offering a spacious interior and mid-passenger seats can be removed to create even more space.
Easy Entry Via Ramps and Lifts
Handicap vans feature entry ramps that can withstand a weight of up to 800lbs. These ramps allow either a side or a rear entry to the vehicle. The ramps make it easy to wheel up the passenger into the broad interior of the car without any lifting necessary. The ramps work either electronically or manually and there are basically two different forms of installation: fold-up ramps that fold in half right next to the passenger seat and in-floor ramps that are stored away under the vehicle's floor. Some vans alternatively feature a platform lift instead of a ramp. In these cases the wheelchair is placed on the lift which is at level with the outside floor and then lifted up electronically into the interior of the vehicle. Both options are easy and, more importantly, safe to use whenever the transport of a wheelchair-bound person is necessary.
Reinforced and Lowered Floor
The floor of the car's interior is designed to be very robust and strong enough to transport even heavier people including their wheelchair. Some bigger vans are designed to fit even two wheelchairs. The floor is partly lowered which gives more stability and enhances safety during the transportation.
No Pedals for Accelerating and Braking
In many vans acceleration and braking can be controlled directly by the steering wheel, which means that even people who are unable to walk or move their feet in any way, can drive safely and independently.
Tie-Downs for Security
Since the wheelchair-bound person can't get into a normal car seat with a standard security belt, an alternative needs to be present to guarantee the same level of security. Steadying and making the transport of a person in a wheelchair secure needs a little bit more than the standard security belt. Handicap Vans feature special Q-strained tie downs and special security in order to stop the wheelchair from moving around and to catch the passenger in case of an accident like a normal seat belt would do.