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Wheelchair Access Vehicles Help

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) are vehicles that are specially converted so a wheelchair user can travel either as a passenger or a driver without needing to transfer out of their wheelchair. Size, shape and design of WAVs will vary depending on the original vehicle that is used for the conversion and the company that converts it.

What are the other options?

There are alternatives available if you don't feel that a WAV is the right vehicle for you - but it's important that any vehicle you choose supports your needs now and for the duration of your lease. If you are able to transfer out of your wheelchair without it causing too much discomfort then a standard car fitted with adaptations may be a better choice. Adaptations such as a transfer plate, person hoist or swivel seat could help improve your access to a car. There is also a wide range of adaptations available that can help you stow your wheelchair or scooter, such as a boot hoist or rooftop stowage box.

Is a WAV right for you?

When it comes to deciding if a WAV is right for you - there's a lot to think about. If you are no longer able to transfer from your wheelchair to a car seat, or if your carer can't lift you, then a WAV could be the solution. We have over 20,000 WAVcustomers who value the independence their WAV gives them. However, a WAV might not be right for everyone and you should weigh up the pros and cons.

Choosing a WAV - Where do I start?

If you don't know where to start, or if this is your first Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) it might be a good idea to jot down a list of what's important to you or what your driving habits are. You could use this when you're talking to WAV suppliers and comparing WAVs that might be right for you.

Your driving habits and lifestyle

  • Where will you be regularly travelling to in your WAV? Are there lots of speed bumps or areas with height restrictions?
  • How often will you need to use the WAV?
  • Does your driver need automatic transmission to make motoring easier?
  • Are you sensitive to temperature? Would you benefit from additional heating and air conditioning?
  • What sort of activities would it be used for, e.g. days out, popping to the shops, the school run? Will there be sufficient space to get in and out of the WAV easily?
  • Where do you normally park? Are there height restrictions? Will there be enough room behind the WAV to access the vehicle by a ramp or a lift? Will there be enough room for the ramp to fully extend?
  • Have you budgeted for the cost of handing over your allowance for five years and ordinary running costs such as fuel?
  • Do you mainly make local journeys, or will you be taking your WAV on longer trips? Diesel is not always the most economical or best option if you just tend to make short journeys.
  • Do you regularly travel with just the driver? Would sitting behind the driver be a problem for you?
  • Size and space considerations
  • How big is your wheelchair?
  • Are you likely to need a new one within the next five years?
  • If the wheelchair user is growing or their condition is likely to change will they need a larger chair?
  • What's your height when you're seated in your wheelchair?
  • How many people regularly need to travel with you?
  • Is this number likely to increase over the course of your lease?
  • What equipment will you need to regularly transport in the WAV?
  • Is it especially large or heavy?
  • Is there sufficient head clearance at the point of entry to the vehicle as well as in the wheelchair seating position?
  • Check out our latest wheelchair accessible vehicles

Types of WAV's

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) come in all different shapes and sizes so you should be able to find one that's right for you.

Standard WAV features include:

  • A built-in ramp, or lifts on larger vehicles
  • Access from the side or the back of the vehicle
  • A lowered floor or raised roof to allow enough headroom
  • Wheelchair tie-downs to keep the wheelchair in position inside the vehicle

We classify our WAV's as small, medium or large. When thinking about what size WAV would work best for you keep in mind

  • The size and weight of your wheelchair
  • Your seated height in your wheelchair
  • The number of people you regularly travel with
  • The amount of equipment that you need to take with you on journeys

Vehicle Layout

There are lots of different seating layouts available and these depend on the size of WAV that you choose. We recommend talking to your WAV supplier to decide what option would work best for you and your needs. WAVs tend to position the wheelchair user towards the back of the vehicle but there are some that allow for the wheelchair user to sit beside the driver. However, an upfront layout will limit the seating you could have in the back of the WAV. They are also a more expensive option.