In today’s automotive market there is a class of vehicle that lends itself not only to the fully capable driver, but, believe it or not, can also serve vehicles for the disabled drivers as well. Although it has been around for some years under different names – mini-SUVs, mid-sized SUVs and the like – today’s term is crossover and it is perhaps the best vehicle that would suit both the needs of the handicapped and non-handicapped alike.
For example, the Chevrolet Traverse is a nicely sized vehicle that offers full hand-control via the cruise-control capability and offers a multi-position power front seat that should let anyone, handicapped or fully able, to find a seating position that will work nicely. Cadillac’s CT-R is a similar, yet pricier version of the same vehicle.
At Ford, the Edge/MKT is another vehicle that deserves a close look because it, too, gives you a wide seating range. With a multi-adjustable power front seat, and it has a steering wheel-mounted speed control. Indeed, one can control the entire vehicle from the steering wheel by just pushing a few buttons. This is a far cry from the far more primitive systems of the 1960s and 1970s that handicapped drivers had to deal with.
Each of these crossovers is a viable handicapped vehicle for the disabled, and offers the handicapped a range of features that, as recently as a decade ago, cost thousands of dollars more to have specially installed.
All of this is thanks to the microcomputer revolution that now has as many as ten different systems multiplexed and working together to enable you to drive safely.
For example, if you have trouble turning your head, Ford has a sonar ranging device that warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot to the side of your vehicle. And, with tail-mounted cameras, you have the ability to see behind you on the dash-mounted navigation screen so you can back up in safety. A second sonar-ranging system also tells you how far you are from other vehicles.
Granted, these are parts of premium packages, but they are still available for you if you are handicapped. And, if you must remove the front seat and have a special seat installed, you can contact the mobility project of any of the major manufacturers and they will help you out.
It is an entirely new world out there, thanks to the electronics revolution. If you are looking for an “off-the-rack” vehicle that one does not need to have any changes made.
Still, if you now need the features offered by a handicapped van conversion, then they are also available to you, at premium prices. Check with the mobility project offices of the manufacturer you are dealing with and they will likely be able to help you “upfit” a vehicle to meet your specific needs. Those needs can range from full ramps to scooter ramps to special seating arrangements.
Those special seating arrangements can range from accommodating your own chair to designing a seat that will work with you.