Accessible Cars for Disabled Passengers
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Do you need options for cars for disabled passengers? Check out our list of accessible cars!
If you care for someone with a disability, you’ll know that mobility means freedom and independence. Things most non-disabled people take for granted (visiting friends, going to the store) all become more difficult when you factor in transportation difficulties.
The challenges associated with vehicle access all depend on the type of disability a person has and their personal situation. Ask your passenger about what they feel they are struggling with so that you can make the best possible adjustments for their needs.
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Cars for Disabled Passengers
While there are a number of guides available on the best choice of car for a disabled driver, this one specifically focuses on the best car for disabled passenger access in addition to comfort, spaciousness and safety to give you an idea of what to look for.
Chrysler BraunAbility Entervan WAV
Introduced to great acclaim in the early 90s, the Chrysler BraunAbility Entervan WAV is still a popular choice today. The first of its kind to offer a lowered floor (up to 10 inches less than traditional minivans), this easy-to-operate minivan also comes with push-button automatic sliding doors, removable seating for wheelchair drivers and a lightweight ramp.
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The Subaru Forester took to the road in 2014 as one of the first ever CUVs (crossover utility vehicles). Since then it has proved a major success, not just with drivers caught between the decision to purchase a large SUV or a standard car, but with disabled passengers and drivers alike, thanks to Subaru’s in-factory modifications offered as part of their motability scheme, along with a number of safety features as standard with all trim models.
The sporty exterior of the Toyota Yaris belies a deceptively roomy interior, with large doors and optional lever-operated swivel seats enabling both driver and passenger to access and exit the vehicle in safety and comfort. The Yaris has since been discontinued in the United States as of 2020, but a good second-hand deal paired with low fuel costs could make it a great option for drivers on a budget.
Cost can be a barrier to many disabled people and those who care for them, so it’s important to know support is available. A good place to start is by asking friends and family members who have already bought an accessible vehicle or made modifications to their existing car.
Another option is to check your national and local government assistance programs, as well as organizations offering advice and financial assistance to disabled people and carers. You can also check with your insurance company to see whether they can help.
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Choosing a Dealership
Check to see whether your dealership has a motability scheme, and whether they are also registered with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and that they have an NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) membership.
It’s also a good idea to find out what kind of training their staff have, the price of any modifications and how long they are expected to last, in addition to advice about maintenance, warranty and ongoing service.
Seeking advice from a qualified occupational therapist or assistive technology specialist can also help you both to identify what modifications can be made to your existing vehicle, or whether it’s time to exchange your existing car for a more accessible model.