Getting Back On The Road With Wheelchair Vans

The truth of the matter is that a spinal cord injury can really have a huge impact on your life. One of the challenging parts of the recovery process is getting back on the road. If you make it a point that you drive regularly you will soon be able to go back to work or school. As you return to driving, you will require training as well as adaptive equipment that will assist you while you are on the road. Individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury usually end up driving handicap vans.

The first thing that you need to do in the event that you want to get back on the road after a spinal cord injury is to take a driving evaluation. This involves a driver rehabilitation specialist determining whether or not you are fit to get back on the road. It is important to note that not all affected persons will be able to drive again. If he or she determines that you cannot drive, other suitable modes of transportation will be organised for you.

In order for you to get the best driver rehabilitation specialist, you have to go to the Association of Driver Rehabilitation Specialists website. When you have visited the website you will be able to find ADED members that are situated in your state.

The all inclusive driving evaluation must have clinical and behind the wheel evaluation. Basically, the clinical one involves an assessment of the visual, cognitive, physical as well as perceptual ability. After the evaluation, the specialist should be able to determine whether or not you are a suitable candidate for driving wheelchair vans.

Most people who suffer from a spinal code injury will never be able to drive a car in the normal way again. However, there are various driving tools that have been specially made for the affected people. When you go to the specialist, he or she will be able to inform you regarding the best types of wheelchair vans that will cater for you. The kind of equipment that you will be using is determined by your range of motion, balance, strength and ability to use your arms.

Most if not all people who have had a spinal cord injury will require contraptions such as mechanical hand controls and steering devices. There are various forms of mechanical hand controls. This type of equipment can be attached onto the brake and gas pedals, allowing the driver to handle the pedals without using his or her feet but only the hands.

A common form of steering device is the spinner knob and you mount it on the steering wheel. It is removable which means that the driver is able to use one hand to control the vehicle. However, there are many forms of steering devices available for handicap vans and they are made in such a way that they accommodate various kinds of hand functions. They have the benefit of allowing someone to steer the car safely.

There are some affected individuals whose arms do not function very well. In such cases, such people require equipment which is more complex. This will allow you to accelerate, steer and brake safely. If the loss of function is great, high tech equipment becomes necessary.

Some examples of these contraptions include:

Horizontal steering  – This is used to move the steering wheel to a plane which is horizontal.

Electric brake and gas  – These are hand controls which are operated electrically. You require only a small amount of strength and range of motion to operate them

Reduced effort steering and braking – Helps if you have decreased range of motion and arm strength.

Joystick driving system  – you can operate the pedals and steering with one hand.

If you are one such individual who has to make use of high tech contraptions, chances are that you will also require equipment that will enable you to operate secondary vehicle controls. These include windshield wipers, radio and turn signals. The equipment used in these wheelchair vans can be simple or quite complicated. An example of a complex system is that which operates secondary controls electronically through voice prompting.

As soon as the driver rehabilitation specialist has determined the driving equipment that you need, he or she will send the recommendation to a dealer who deals in mobility equipment. These dealers specialize in installing equipment and modifying vehicles for people that have disabilities, whether you are a passenger or the driver.

It is absolutely important for you to opt for the right vehicle which meets all your needs. The mobility dealer is there to help you with this process. The dealer needs to be consulted before you buy the vehicle because there are some vehicles which are not suited for modifications.

The appropriate vehicle depends on factors such as:

  • Your wheelchair type
  • Whether you will be driving or you will be a passenger
  • Your weight and height in the wheelchair
  • The vehicle modifications which assist affected individuals include:
  • Specially made transfer seats
  • Lifts which store as well as retrieve the wheelchair
  • Floor minivans which are lowered
It is important to note that consulting a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist as well as mobility equipment dealer is essential. This should be done before you buy wheelchair vans or prior to making any major decisions. If you do not do this you risk having problems with the vehicle and its equipment. These experts will assist you in making an informed decision so that you will not have any problems with the vehicle.