Regardless of price or size, the thing that all wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) have in common are their main safety features.
Firstly, WAVs have special ramps or lifts to enable the wheelchair user to enter and exit the vehicle. Although they will all be extremely strong and sturdy, some will be automatic, and some will be manual depending on the make, model, and requirements of the user.
Ramps are obviously fairly self-explanatory, but the one thing to always consider is that when parking, enough space must be left between the vehicle and the one parked behind or to the side of it as there must be room for the ramp to be extended completely. This is not so important for vehicles with lifts, but they are likely to be a little more expensive up front.
A WAV will always have a wheelchair tie-down and occupant restraint system (WTORS) to ensure that the wheelchair and occupant are positioned safely once inside the vehicle.
The tie-downs allow the wheelchair itself to be secured and unable to fall or roll while the vehicle is in motion. Consisting of four or six belts, they are permanently attached to the vehicle and temporarily attached to the wheelchair for the journey, preferably attached from front to back, making sure that there are no twists.
The occupant restraint is fundamentally a more sophisticated seatbelt, but it usually consists of two parts – a shoulder belt and lap belt which connect together and are adjusted to fit the occupant tightly.
Getting the right safety features is important for all WAV users. By purchasing from an established, specialist supplier of used wheelchair accessible vehicles, customers should have the individual, expert attention they need to find the ideal vehicle most suitable for their requirements.