When it comes to vehicle modifications, did you know there’s a lot of different options for wheelchair users to choose from? While the minivan with its roomy interior has become a popular vehicle to modify, that style doesn’t always appeal to everyone.
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation put together two videos showcasing the many types of vehicles wheelchair users have chosen to modify based on their needs and personal style. Here's some info on just a few of the vehicles in the spotlight.
Wes, a paraplegic, has a 1967 Ford Mustang convertible. He loves being able to “hop in and out of his car” and go cruising. He easily transfers to the driver’s seat, then loads his wheelchair into the back seat. Wes has had his Mustang since the 1980s and he’s modified it with hand controls so he can still enjoy driving it.
When it comes to finding the right vehicle, Wes says “Look around, use your creative thinking, and enjoy the process.”
Fred is a T4 paraplegic, and he drives an H2 Hummer that meets his needs in every way. Fred loves to ski and he says this is a great vehicle to get him into the mountains. “And I could easily fit my chair in and out the passenger door,” he shares. After Fred purchased the vehicle, he worked with an independent contractor to modify certain elements, like hinging the back passenger door so that it opens upward, and adding an arm inside the vehicle that holds his wheelchair.
“We came up with some pretty inventive fixes to make it much more accessible for me.”
John is a paraplegic, and sits proudly atop his modified motorcycle. “It’s a Lehman Trike Kit,” he says. “They took my bike and converted a Road King into a trike.” With the trike frame, John is stable and doesn’t have to worry about falling over. And the trike fits his personality well. “It’s clean … and nice looking, I think!” he says with a smile.
One of Michael’s favorite vehicles to drive around is his large Checker Motors Corporation sedan. At 6 feet 8 inches, he says this was the largest car he could find back when he was in college that would meet his needs.
“I could throw my chair over the back seat. I used to get 3 or 4 people and their chairs in there back when I played basketball.”
His Checker has taken him all over the United States and he calls it his “alter ego.”
So when it’s time to start driving post-injury, keep in mind the number of options available. From adding hand controls to installing ramps and other customized additions, there are dealers that specialize in helping you find the right adaptations to fit your personality and needs.
What do you drive? Share your modified vehicle with us for a chance to be featured on AbleThrive!