Wheelchair securement systems are an important part of transportation for wheelchair users, providing a safe and reliable way to tie down a wheelchair in a vehicle. While in transportation, wheelchairs should be fastened down whether they are being occupied or unoccupied. By properly securing your wheelchair in the vehicle, this will ensure your wheelchair will not fall or tip over while the vehicle is moving. Read below to help understand your options so you can make an informed decision based on your specific mobility needs.
There are three main types of wheelchair tie downs: manual, retractable, and docking systems. Each type of tie down offers different features and benefits, so it’s important to consider all three types before selecting the best one for your needs.
Manual wheelchair tie downs are the most basic type of tie down system and are appealing to many because they are the most affordable wheelchair securement option. They are typically comprised of four straps that attach to the wheelchair with four anchor points on the vehicle floor. Manual tie downs can be adjusted to fit most wheelchairs, and they offer good stability when used properly. The main downside to manual tie downs is that they can be time-consuming to install and adjust correctly. Additionally, manual wheelchair tie- downs require assistance and cannot be used in the driving position.
Retractable wheelchair tie downs are more complex than manual tie downs, but they offer a greater degree of convenience. Instead of four straps, retractable tie downs typically use two or three straps that are attached to the vehicle floor with a ratcheting mechanism. This allows the straps to be easily adjusted and tightened to secure the wheelchair in place. Retractable tie downs are also more secure than manual tie downs, as they are not prone to slipping or loosening over time. Retractable tie downs are among the most popular securement methods because of their ease of use and space-saving capabilities. Like manual wheelchair tie downs, retractable tie downs are for passenger use only and cannot be used in the driving position.
Docking systems are the most advanced type of tie down system available. Instead of straps, docking systems use a platform to secure the wheelchair in place. This platform is usually made from metal or plastic and is secured to the vehicle floor with bolts or screws. Docking systems are designed to allow wheelchair users to drive from their chairs. An automatic docking base allows a user to lock their wheelchair into place without assistance from others. Simply roll into the docking point and the docking system will automatically secure your wheelchair into place. This ensures that the wheelchair cannot be moved or removed without first unlocking the platform. Docking systems offer the highest level of security and convenience, but they are also the most expensive type of tie down system.
When selecting a wheelchair securement system, it is important to consider all three types of tie downs: manual, retractable, and docking systems. Each type of tie down offers different features and benefits, so it’s important to select the best one for your needs. Manual tie downs are the most basic type of tie down, while retractable and docking systems offer more security and convenience. Regardless of which type of tie down you choose, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure the safety of the wheelchair user so that you can drive safely and with ease. We work with leading securement system manufacturers such as Q'Straint, Sure-Lok, and EZ Lock.
If you are looking for a wheelchair accessible van that already comes equipped with a securement system, browsing the United Access inventory is the first step to finding the wheelchair van that works best for you and your specific mobility needs. We offer a wide selection of new and used accessible vehicles from top brands like Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota. Whatever your mobility needs may be, our Mobility Specialists are here to guide you through every step of the process and find the perfect vehicle for you. If you are ready to buy a wheelchair van, truck, or SUV, reach out to your local United Access dealer! Our team of Mobility Specialists across the country to help you find your mobility independence.