Mobility News

Help and Advice

If you are considering buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle, make Mobility Nationwide your first port of call for help and advice. For the majority of our customers, it is the first time they have bought a car with disabled access, and we are more than happy to offer friendly, no obligation guidance as to the different types of mobility cars available, and which might be suitable for your particular needs.

New Model Fiat Doblo

New into our stock of used wheelchair accessible vehicles is the new model Fiat Doblo. The upgraded model has all the roominess and generous headroom of the old model but with an improved, modern design.  The Doblo is the perfect mobility car for those who like the ease of driving and parking a smaller vehicle, combined with a comfortable space for the wheelchair passenger.

Spring has Sprung!

The spring rush has started and we are certainly living up to the ‘Nationwide’ in our name. This week we have home demonstrations of our disabled access vehicles in London, Northern Ireland, Lincolnshire, Edinburgh and Devon. We are always happy to bring our mobility cars to customers’ homes for a free, no obligation demonstration anywhere in the UK (highlands and islands excepted). Customers nationwide recognize our expertise and high quality of aftersales service.

Public and Private Transport for Wheelchair Users in 2016: What’s changed?

wheelchair accessible vehiclesAlthough there have been some promising developments recently in accessible transport, getting around by public transport with a wheelchair can still be a bit of a nightmare. We’re going to take a look at some of the options available to you both publicly and privately.

Taxis

While it is still compulsory for all minicabs and taxis to be wheelchair accessible inside London and in many other cities, there is a danger that cabs will be less numerous in future due to the rise of Uber. Uber cabs are for the most part non-wheelchair-accessible and are frequently cheaper than black cabs or pre-booked minicabs, meaning that you could be missing out on the discounted travel others are able to access.

If you are outside London, you can contact your council to find out if it is compulsory for taxis in your area to be wheelchair accessible.

Uber

As of October 2015, Uber has rolled out UberASSIST in London, designed to provide additional assistance for disabled riders or those with access needs. While the service is the same price as a normal Uber, the drivers will have completed a disability equality course and have a car that can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers and scooters. Unfortunately, as of yet this fleet doesn’t include wheelchair accessible vehicles so aren’t suitable for non-folding or motorised wheelchairs. There are more details on their website.

Buses

As well as having compulsory ramps and wheelchair spaces, over a third of full-size local buses nationwide are now low floor vehicles, rising to as high as 90% in London. These are probably one of the easier ways to travel around London, although bus stops aren’t always in convenient places. The charity Ricability has produced a free guide, Wheels within Wheels, on using public transport with a wheelchair.

Underground

Sadly, in the past year not that much has improved on the London Underground. Despite being one of the most important methods of transport in and around London, step-free access is still only available in less than a quarter of stations, leaving some lines (for example the central line) completely inaccessible. You can look at these guides for further information.

Trains

Overground, travel by train becomes a little easier. Although stations may not be that easy to enter and leave, there are many more nationally that are wheelchair accessible. If you are travelling by train you should notify the company you are travelling with as soon as possible (many online booking websites have a section to cover this) if you will need their assistance boarding and leaving the train. Once aboard, there are dedicated wheelchair spaces and staff should be on hand to assist if needed.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Despite recent advancements, owning a wheelchair accessible vehicle still provides the greatest level of flexibility. In inner-city areas, your blue badge will provide far greater flexibility of parking and allow you to access places you couldn’t easily reach by public transport. Despite black cabs now all being wheelchair accessible, they are not always available — and definitely not affordable! Two trips in a black cab could easily cost the amount of your weekly mobility allowance. Although there have been improvements in public transport, there’s still a long way to go before the UK’s public transport becomes truly accessible.

Explore your WAV options with Mobility Nationwide. Browse our current range of vehicles or give us a call on 01824 526061.

How to Travel Around Europe in a WAV

wheelchair accessible vehiclesBritain is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in Europe and with a wealth of history, nature, culture and adventure at your disposal, you might never desire to venture elsewhere. However, there are also many other places in Europe that offer stunning surroundings and cultural experiences. Whether you’re looking to escape the British winter, or explore a city that is different from your own, a WAV can help you get to where you want to go. However, before you set off for greener pastures, make sure that you’re fully prepared for what lies ahead.

Plan your wheelchair accessible vehicle adventure wisely

Whilst Europe is entirely accessible by car, it is also worth researching which places are worth visiting and which areas might be worth a miss. Whether you are entirely independent or codependent on others, it is always wise to plan your route in advance, particularly if you don’t speak the language of the country you will be visiting. Make sure that before you set off, you know where you want to go, which places you want to visit and how accessible these areas are. Make sure to invest in a map of Europe before you set off (and if you want to be really well prepared, highlight the route you intend to take on the map as well!). It might also be wise to invest in a satnav, as this will allow you to reroute yourself if necessary, as well as providing a handy tool for finding petrol stations, restaurants and hotels whilst on the route.

Remember PPPPP: Poor Planning leads to Pretty Poor Performance

Everyone knows that when you’re tired and/or hungry, you probably won’t say the nicest things or make the best decisions. That is why we recommend booking your accommodation in advance, to avoid you feeling lost in an unknown town or city and having nowhere to rest your head. It is unfortunately also the case that some hotels will be inaccessible to wheelchairs, limiting your choice somewhat and making it even harder to find a hostel or hotel on the day. Each hotel should tell you whether or not they are wheelchair accessible on their website, but if you are ever unsure, just give them a quick call and they will be able to put your mind at ease. Whilst you’re sourcing additional hotel details, it would also be worth enquiring after their parking arrangements, ensuring that you have a place where you can leave your WAV overnight that is both secure and close to the hostel/hotel. By securing your accommodation in advance, you might also be able to secure early bird discounts, saving you money as well as ensuring your trip runs smoothly.

When travelling in a mobility vehicle, always have a plan B

Even the most well thought out plans can be scuppered by unforeseen circumstances! There is no shame is securing a plan b, in fact, we would highly recommend compiling a list of backup accommodation options. Then, if anything should go wrong or your mobility vehicle starts playing up, you can ensure that you won’t be stuck for long. If you know the name and contact details of alternative hotels or hostels, you will be in a far better position to execute a plan b and continue with your travels unperturbed.

Check more than just your tyre pressure when travelling by car

If you choose to bypass airport security and explore Europe by car, be sure to make all the necessary checks before you embark on your journey. Some countries have various road signs that are a far cry from anything we see in the UK, whilst others have strict regulations as to the conditions of your wheels and what you should have in your car in case of an emergency. For example, if you are looking to explore Sweden this winter, it is mandatory that your car is fitted with winter tyres between 1st December – 31st March, and without these on your WAV, you may be liable to pay a pretty hefty fine. However, as mentioned previously, PPPPP, so prepare effectively and you’re unlikely to go wrong.

Whilst planning can sometimes be harder work than you ever envisaged, it will also undoubtedly increase your excitement levels and prepare you for what will be an incredible experience. Just be sure to cover all bases before you set off, and most importantly of all, make sure your camera is ready to capture all the action!

If you would like to find out more about where you can buy a suitable wheelchair accessible vehicle for travelling around Europe, please visit our help page where we can direct you and provide more information where necessary.  

Get Ready for the Spring with a Second Hand Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

As the winter months become milder, and talk turns from Christmas presents and New Year’s Resolutions to summer plans and holiday destinations, making sure you have the freedom to travel becomes more and more important.

Travel Smart

used car to take wheelchairWhen it comes to travelling in a wheelchair, the independence you can get from owning a car built to take a wheelchair trumps even the most well-connected and punctual public transport network.

Owning your own vehicle will not only make going about your day-to-day activities more comfortable and stress-free, it will open up new opportunities for leisure and travel.

Making sure you have a vehicle that is built for your needs will also have a positive impact on your physical health, as using a car or van that isn’t especially suited to wheelchair users can mean that transferring from the wheelchair into the car can be  tiring and uncomfortable.  

Start thinking about the part – exchange value of your present vehicle.

If you already own a vehicle, you will want to start researching its part-exchange value. You can always contact us for a quote, or just some general advice and information on what you should expect to receive for a wheelchair accessible vehicle.

Check your vehicle’s mileage, the general wear and tear on your vehicle, and slook around to try to find a vehicle in a similar condition to your own so that you can get a good idea of the value of your vehicle. You can always look to sell your car yourself to finance the purchase of a new one.

Road Trip!

With the added freedom a wheelchair accessible vehicle can give, there’s simply no excuse not to get out onto the open road. Road trips aren’t just for Americans, there are stunning sights to be found in the UK too from the comfort of your own wheelchair accessible vehicle.

We make buying a disabled vehicle as easy as can be

Our experts are on hand to give you any help or advice needed so that you can find the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle for you. A lot of our clients have never had any experience of buying a used wheelchair accessible car, so we have a lot of experience finding first-time buyers their perfect second-hand mobility vehicle.

Before getting in touch, make a note of the dimensions of your wheelchair, so that we can make sure to find a second hand mobility vehicle that is a comfortable fit. Other factors to consider are often to do with your height and any personal tastes.

We also offer a Nationwide Home Viewing service, where you can select the second-hand mobility vehicle you wish to view, and we’ll bring it right to your door to show you around that vehicle.

Looking for great value second-hand mobility vehicles? Let Mobility Nationwide take the stress out of the process and start browsing our range of vehicles in time for the Spring today!

Should You Buy A New Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle This New Year?

Feeling trapped by mobility issues? A new Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle makes travelling with a wheelchair hassle-free.

Safety First

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Time can take a toll on any vehicle. No matter how often you have your car serviced or how well you take care of it, you may still reach a point when it is more economical to buy a new car then it is to fix your old one.

With major technological advancements in recent years, purchasing a car that has been manufactured from 2009 ensures a safer and more reliable drive. Roughly  60% of cars registered in the UK feature an Electronic Safety Program (ESP). The active system works in hazardous conditions such as wet and icy roads, which can help reduce the number of road accidents.

Changing Circumstances

Whether it’s a new addition to the family or you just need extra storage space, purchasing a new wheelchair accessible vehicle could mean that you can find something that would be more suited to your current needs. Alternatively, your local wheelchair accessible vehicle dealership will be on hand to make any minor tweaks necessary.

A New Year means a fresh start for you and your family. Invest in your family’s future by purchasing the ideal wheelchair accessible vehicle that the whole family can enjoy.

Options For Customers

The start of the year can be a slow time for most dealerships; customers are less inclined to make a purchase on a car and so stock tends to be higher. In this case, purchasing from a dealership in the New Year means that you have a wider choice.

Top Tips When Buying A New wheelchair accessible vehicle

It can sometimes be a difficult to know what to look for when purchasing a new wheelchair accessible vehicle so we have compiled a small list of things to consider that will help make your decision easier:

  •      Make sure to test-drive the wheelchair accessible vehicle before handing over any money (even a deposit)..
  •      Test the ramp and wheelchair accessibility.
  •      Consider the seating arrangement.
  •      Check that the vehicle has a new MOT with no advisories.

Ask about the warranty – How comprehensive is it and what will the dealer do when things go wrong>

Looking for high-quality second-hand mobility vehicles  with a first class service? Get in touch with Mobility Nationwide and browse our showroom of fantastic models.

What To Look For When You Test-Drive a WAV

We all know the drill: you browse a second-hand dealer’s selection of suitable cars and vans, you narrow down your options, you um and ah for a bit, and then you decide (maybe). Next up is the all-important test-drive, and that’s when you have to really work out whether you’re happy to buy or need to reconsider.

second hand mobility vehicleWith wheelchair accessible vehicles there are a few extra checks that you should ensure you make, but most of the basics that you should look out for on any test drive still apply too. By all means refer to Auto Trader’s test-drive ‘Golden Rules’, but don’t forget Mobility Nationwide’s guide too…

The basics of test-driving a wheelchair accessible vehicle

Many of the checks that you’ll want to make when test-driving a second hand mobility vehicle come naturally —  you almost don’t even have to think before you make the checks. The things that are immediately obvious when you get into the vehicle for the first time are things like general comfort, the look and feel of the interior, and the seating position behind the wheel. The ease of actually getting into the car is also a very obvious thing to consider that really shouldn’t be ignored.

There are so many conscious and subconscious considerations that you make the moment you sit down and put your seatbelt on for the first time, and it’s important to listen to your instincts at this stage. If you’re sat uncomfortably the first time you get into the car — perhaps the ride height is too low, or you have to strain slightly to use the controls — make the necessary adjustments. If you just can’t get comfortable when you’re sat with the dealer, who should know the car inside out, the chances of you getting used to this vehicle in the long run are slim.

What else to look out for while test-driving a WAV

There are handy checklists that you can refer to when assessing the vehicle for the first time. The AA offers a list of ‘test drive tips’ that are very useful for prospective car buyers. We have also written in the past about the important features that a wheelchair accessible vehicle should have before you consider buying it.

You should look for cabin storage areas at some point during the test drive. It’s really important to have adequate space for your everyday possessions, and the inability to keep them all within easy reach can be a pain.

Listen out for any unusual or unexpected noises that come from the vehicle. For example, a knocking sound from one wheel arch when you drive over a bump or pothole could mean that a coil spring has broken, and this is an easy fix that your dealer should provide you with before you drive the vehicle away. Always ask the question if you hear a sound that you’re not sure about — the dealer should be able to ameliorate your worries pretty quickly, otherwise it could mean there’s a bigger issue.

You should try to engage all of the electronic extras at some point whilst on your test drive. If there’s a radio, turn it on, have a listen, use the windscreen wipers at different speeds, and check that the controls are easy to use. If the vehicle has electric windows, open them and close them. Don’t worry about annoying the dealer, they’re used to it! Besides, this is what the test drive is for, you want to make sure everything in the vehicle works satisfactorily.

It is also important to try to give yourself about twenty minutes or half an hour when you’re test-driving a vehicle for the first time. Rack up a few minutes on different types of road too. Driving around town for five minutes won’t tell you much about the car — get it out onto a dual carriageway or motorway as well. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time on motorways generally. Drive the vehicle as normally as possible, in as many different surroundings as possible.

WAV-specific checks

The biggest and most important check pertains to the ‘A’ in WAV: there really is no point in purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle if it’s not perfectly accessible for the people using it. Beyond the obvious essentials — can the vehicle can be entered and exited safely, comfortably and efficiently? The nuts and bolts of the means of access should also be assessed.

Most WAVs can be accessed via a ramp from the rear doors, and some utilise a ramp from a side door. You’ll find that access from the rear poses far fewer problems than a side-accessible vehicle. This is because of the difficulties of access when the vehicle is parked alongside others, such as when you’re in a car park.

You should go through the process of accessing the vehicle from start to finish, and then make sure the process is palatable when exiting as well. The ramp should be lightweight and simple to use effectively. There should be no difficulty in lifting the ramp into position, and you should be able to stow the ramp easily too. Safety is the most important factor at play here, but ease of use is almost as important in the long run.

If you’re looking to buy a larger second-hand mobility vehicle, you may find that access is via a lift rather than a ramp. If this is the case, ask about maintenance costs, and make sure the lift is fully operational by testing the mechanism several times in a couple of different environments. Lifts are very useful if you anticipate several wheelchair users using the vehicle at one time, and as such you should test the ease of access for several people on the test drive if you can.

Once you know that you’ve chosen the right WAV for your needs, you need to make sure it drives well too. The test drive is so important, and it really is your time. Use it wisely, and don’t forget anything obvious. You’ll want to feel confident you’re making the right choice when you get back to the dealership and say ‘I’ll take it!’ So make sure the test drive answers all of your questions.

Looking for a second-hand mobility vehicle at a great price? We’ll be with you every step of the way on your test drive. Get in touch with Mobility Nationwide now and browse our showroom of fantastic models.

Delivery of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles before Christmas

There’s still time for a home demonstration of one of our mobility cars before the holiday season. We currently have a wide range of disability cars in stock, which can all be viewed on our constantly updated website, and we would be delighted to bring one out for you to view at any time during the holidays (Christmas Day and Boxing Day excluded, of course)!

Ways To Protect Your WAV From Theft

No one ever thinks it’ll happen to them, until it does. It’s a nightmare scenario – pleased with your acquisition of a second-hand mobility vehicle drive over to your favourite restaurant for a slap-up celebratory meal. It’s all perfectly lovely until you emerge several hours later and find an empty space in the spot where you parked…

Protect Your WAV From TheftIt could happen, and regrettably it does happen. We’ve compiled a few sensible theft-prevention tips so you can make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

Anti-theft devices

There are a number of devices you can purchase that will help deter thieves and keep your vehicle safe. We’re all familiar with the classic “club” steering wheel lock, however you can also get hold of more sophisticated devices such as an electronic immobiliser, which prevents your vehicle from moving unless a specific electronic signal is detected. Car alarms are also a common solution that still works well.

If you don’t drive your car that often then you could consider tire locks, which work similarly to the clamping systems you see attached to the cars of unfortunate souls who are bad at parking. However, as these can be a pain to get on and off, you wouldn’t want one on a car you use daily.

Second-hand mobility vehicles may well already have some of these devices installed. Check with your seller what’s included in your vehicle, and consider adding anti-theft devices to your list of factors to consider when purchasing second hand mobility vehicles.

If you’re willing to invest a little money, the Metropolitan police recommends investing in a GPS tracker. These can cost a little to install but can be a boon if your vehicle does end up stolen, as they have very high retention rates.

Good habits to get into

Well lit, busy spaces and secure parking structures are both your friends when it comes to finding a location that won’t tempt car thieves. Be mindful of where you park, especially if you’re going to be leaving your car for some time and it’s late at night. You don’t want to give potential thieves any more opportunity than necessary, and a dark, secluded parking spot in the middle of nowhere will do exactly that.

Make a habit of checking all entry points are closed and locked before you leave the vehicle. This means not just doors, but also things like the sun roof and the rear windows. Also make sure you don’t leave valuables on display.

Also, when you’re at home, get in the habit of using your garage. We know it’s easier to leave the thing on the road, but simply putting it behind a thick metal door will prevent it from being a target for opportunistic thieves in the neighbourhood.

Another useful thing to do is know what your relative chances of falling victim to car theft are. The fact of the matter is that you are simply more likely to fall victim to car crime in some areas than others. Honest John has put together a useful tool that you can use to calculate your relative risk of car theft, based on where in the UK you live and what make of car you drive.

Vehicle Identification Number

A useful preventative measure you may want to consider is also to have your Vehicle Identification Number etched into your vehicle’s important parts.

All vehicles registered in the UK must have a unique, stamped-in vehicle identification number (VIN) and registration number, and you can feel free to put this wherever you’d like – windows, ramp, bonnet, battery, wherever it’ll fit.

This allows you to easily report the vehicle stolen and makes it more difficult for thieves to resell. Make it nice and visible, to try to put thieves off straight away.

We don’t mean this blog to be all doom and gloom: car theft in the UK has on the whole been on the decline in recent years, and the chances of it happening to you are getting lesser and lesser every year. Still, it still pays to be vigilant. Stay safe this Christmas.

Looking for second hand mobility vehicles at great prices? Get in touch with Mobility Nationwide and browse our showroom of fantastic models.