Road Safety Advice for Your Wheelchair Van
For any family who loves to travel and relies on a wheelchair accessible vehicle, it’s important to ensure everything is functioning optimally. Before every journey, we recommend checking that the oil has been changed and the tires are properly aired. Follow the original manufacturer’s routine maintenance schedule and at least every six months have the conversion components like the wheelchair-accessible ramp, hand controls, and EZ Lock system inspected by your local dealer.
What are hand controls?
Hand controls allow you to operate a vehicle using only your hands instead of the traditional foot pedals. BraunAbility mobility consultants will work with you to find the hand controls that work best for your level of mobility.
An EZ lock is a brand name of a wheelchair securement system that docks your wheelchair to the floor of the handicapped vehicle. A variety of wheelchair securement systems are available for power or manual wheelchairs. Talk with your BraunAbility dealer to find one that works for you.
Despite best efforts, things can happen while traveling away from home. In the event of an emergency, there are several things you could do before and after an incident to get you back on the road quicker.
BraunAbility dealers are available 24/7 for emergency roadside assistance for mobility equipment - from wheelchair lifts to wheelchair accessible vans. Whether in town or across the country, our over 250 dealer locations can be contacted and a service representative will help you through whatever problem you’ve encountered.
For peace of mind, many drivers may choose to purchase a roadside assistance service such as AAA. They can help start a dead battery, change a tire or arrange a tow. Additional member-only perks include helping to plan a trip, providing maps/travel guides, and offering special discounts on hotels, dining, and shopping.
What to Pack
Whether taking a short drive a few hours from home or navigating a cross-country excursion in your handicap van, it’s often advantageous to pack more than just a suitcase of clothes. Luckily, BraunAbility vehicles come with ample interior space and storage capacity to accommodate additional equipment such as a portable home ramp and a shower chair.
12 Travel Items:
- Paper map—GPS is not infallible
- A well-stocked first aid kit
- High-beam flashlight
- Jumper cables
- Tools to change a tire and a spare
- Non-perishable healthy snacks
- Bottled waters
- Blankets and pillows
- Cell phone charger
- Sun protection – both sunscreen and sunglasses
- Rain protection – both umbrella and poncho
- Hand sanitizer and paper towels
Like all drivers, strive to get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road. Periodically stop the wheelchair accessible van to get out and stretch. Don’t wait until the gas gauge is on “E” to fill up. Road construction or some other obstacle could burn more fuel than anticipated.
Be cognizant of when the driver is tiring. If possible, frequently switch drivers. If you drive using hand controls, be sure your co-pilot is aware of how to operate the wheel around the adaptations. Aim to arrive at your daily destination well before dark and avoid passing through cities during 5 o’clock traffic.
Book hotel rooms in advance of your trip. If you’ve decided to select a hotel on the day of arrival, start looking early in the afternoon. Hunting for a wheelchair accessible guest room when you’re tired is no fun. Join a few hotel reward programs—membership is free. Three we like include IHG, Hilton, and Marriott. Download their apps to your phone to easily compare features and cost.
Be flexible with your plans. Build extra time into your schedule for any hiccups along the way. Lastly, enjoy the adventure and safe travels!
Other Accessible Living Articles:
Windy City Weekend: Chicago with the Twardowskis
Universal Design 101 with Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.
Tips for Traveling in a Wheelchair Van
The Top 10 Wheelchair Accessible Cities of the US
The History of the Little Blue Sign | Handicap Sign History
5 Ways Universal Design Affects Everyone
Teaching Kids About Disabilities: 10 Things Every Parents Should Know
A Road Trip Checklist Making Accessible Trips More Fun
Accessible Travel Spring Break Destinations
Where to Buy a Wheelchair: 5 Things to Know Before You Buy
Songs of Love Foundation Writes Unique Songs for Sick Kids
Some Words of Wisdom for the Newly Diagnosed
Service Dogs: Challenges and Rewards of Owning One
SAWs Builds Ramps to the World
San Antonio's Accessible Amusement Park