Although adapting a vehicle might be on the higher end of your budget as the average cost for one of these vehicles is $80,000, they can make driving safer and easier for individuals who wish to drive but have a disability. If you’re wondering how a vehicle can be adapted for you or someone who currently suffers from a disability, below we share some important information on getting this accomplished.
- The first thing you need to do is evaluate your needs or those of the person you are looking to adapt a vehicle for. In order to determine what these are, you will need to meet with a driver rehabilitation specialist who can perform a comprehensive evaluation allowing them to identify the type of equipment that is best suited for your needs and medical condition [Source: NHTSA]. In order to find a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist, you can contact the Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED). Some things a rehabilitation specialist will evaluate include your vision along with the following:
- Muscle strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
- Coordination and reaction time.
- Judgment and decision-making abilities.
- Ability to operate a vehicle with adaptive equipment.
Something the NHTSA suggests you do is have your driver evaluation done when you are “functioning at your best” and when you are “physically and psychologically prepared to drive.”
- The next thing you need to do is find the right vehicle for you. Some questions you may want to keep in mind when selecting your vehicle include:
- Is the vehicle physically able to accommodate the cargo capacity (in pounds) of your equipment?
- Is there ample space for both your equipment and your family or other passengers once the vehicle is modified?
- Will you have a place to park the vehicle at home and/or work that will allow you to unload and load a wheelchair?
- “Is there adequate parking space to maneuver if you use a walker?”
- “What additional options are necessary for the safe operation of the vehicle?”
Some features the NHTSA says you also want to look for when shopping around for a vehicle include:
- High or extra-wide doors
- Adjustable foot pedals
- Large interior door handles
- Oversized knobs with clearly visible labels
- Support handles to assist with entry and exit
- Large or adjustable-size print for dashboard gauges
- Seat adjusters that have the ability to move the seat in all directions.
- Dashboard-mounted ignition rather than steering column-mounted ignition.
Now, it is important that before selecting a vehicle and purchasing it, you meet with a mobility equipment dealer once you know what type of equipment you will need to have installed and your driver rehabilitation specialist to be certain this vehicle is capable of being adapted. If you need help finding a qualified dealer, you can contact the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA).
While all drivers are encouraged to only get behind the wheel of a vehicle if they are physically and mentally able to do so, adapting a vehicle allows an individual the opportunity to drive who once was never able to or recently suffered an injury and lost the ability to drive without assistance. Because adaptive vehicles are available, that means there are all types of drivers out of the roadways today. This includes young teens, senior citizens, middle-aged adults, and people with disabilities. Therefore, you must always be cautious and courteous to all drivers around to not only promote roadway safety but to also avoid an accident.
Now, if you have recently been involved in an auto accident in or nearby to Biloxi, MS and wish to speak with an attorney regarding the incident to find out what your case might be worth, contact USAttorneys.com. We will get you connected with a local Biloxi, MS car accident lawyer immediately who can answer your questions and address any concerns you might have.