5 Tips Before Renting Handicapped Vehicles

handicapped sign on pavement

If you're used to renting vehicles, you probably know what to look for before you drive off in the car. You might be competitive when shopping based on price, but you'll also want to go with a rental company that has a solid reputation. 

You may have experience with renting standard vehicles, but do you know what to look for if you need a rental wheelchair van? Do you know what questions to have answered when you need to rent a rental handicap vehicle?

Renting handicapped vehicles is a little different from renting standard vehicles. If you need to rent an accessible vehicle soon, make sure you remember these 5 important tips. 

1. Consider Needed Space and Storage

Always take time to consider how much space you'll need for people and the items you'll need to bring along before you rent a vehicle. 

How many people will you need to transport? Some people may have nurses or caregivers that may need to travel with them or you could be traveling with many family members. It's important to take some time to think about all of the space you'll need to accommodate everyone and their assistive technology. 

If you're transporting someone who uses a wheelchair, you'll have to make sure you have a vehicle that can comfortably fit their wheelchair when they're in transit. Someone using a walker or crutches will need storage space as well. 

You may have to fit other extra devices in your van such as an oxygen tank, and back-up tanks depending on the length of your rental.

You may want to consider finding a vehicle that has removable seating. That can help riders feel more comfortable and could give you more room to store things.

2. Prioritize Driver Comfort 

Driving handicapped vehicles can feel a little different than driving a non-modified van. If you're used to driving a regular sedan, van or SUV, a wheelchair van can handle very differently from what you're used to. Additional manufacturing adds weight to the vehicle, which can make accelerating, braking, and turning feel very different. 

When you're thinking about driver comfort, also think about how comfortable you are in helping other passengers get in and out of the vehicle. 

If you're dropping other passengers off at a care facility or school, you could arrange to have help when you arrive, but if you're driving a long distance, you should be prepared to help people get in and out at rest stops and other destinations. 

Often, discomfort with assisting comes down to using wheelchair tie-downs. When you rent through a certified BraunAbility dealer, your consultant will help you understand how to operate wheelchair tie-downs so that you can confidently use them multiple times during your rental period.

3. Ask About Vehicle Condition

When you're renting any vehicle, the condition of it is very important. Never rent a vehicle without asking about the history of the vehicle if the rental company hasn't provided it upfront. 

Check to see if the vehicle has been in an accident. If it has been involved in one, ask about when the incident took place and what repair work had to be done. Also, pay close attention to details when you see the car and ask questions about anything that seems damaged. Remember, once you have officially signed documents the vehicle is under your care. You could be held liable for any breakdowns or damage that occurs when you're using it. All BraunAbility vehicles are checked after drop-off and maintained to the highest degree. Plus, when you rent a vehicle, you always have access to BraunAbility dealer staff around the clock should you need help. 

4. Ask About Fuel Efficiency 

Don't forget about the importance of fuel efficiency when you're looking for an accessible vehicle to rent. Asking how many miles to the gallon the vehicle gets is a question that everyone should ask.

When you're renting a vehicle, you are responsible for fuel costs. This can end up being expensive depending on how much you need to use your vehicle. 

Take some time to think about how long you'll need the vehicle for, and how long you'll have to drive it. Plan out your route carefully and take note of any gas stations and rest stops you see. 

Remember that vans and larger vehicles naturally tend to take more gas to run. You may also need to use a different grade of gas to make sure that everything runs properly. Pay attention when talking with your dealer to ensure you are fueling up with the right grade level gas. 

5. Learn About Wheelchair Restraints

Seatbelts are important for safety for all drivers, but people with disabilities who choose to ride from their wheelchair will need some extra safety when they're in transit.

Restraint systems are important when you're renting handicapped vehicles. You may need different restraints for equipment and the passengers. 

When you're looking at a vehicle before renting, ask if you can practice strapping a wheelchair into place. If you have other equipment you'll need to store like walkers, canes, or oxygen tanks, feel free to test out securing them as well. If you are able to take the vehicle for a test drive, pay close attention to see if the equipment is shifting. 

Wheelchairs are most easily secured by using four straps at each corner of the wheelchair frame that bolts securely to the floor. You can use two belts in the front and two in the back to help keep everything secure. If you're transporting an especially heavy wheelchair, you may want to find a vehicle that has extra straps you can use. Sometimes having an extra restraint in the front or the back can help put the wheelchair's user's mind at ease.

Handicapped Vehicles and More 

We gave you our top 5 tips for making sure that you rent the best-handicapped vehicles for your needs, but we do a lot more than simply rent safe vehicles.

Most of all, we're here to answer any questions you may have about our products and services. Be sure to contact us today with any questions you may have. 

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