Handicap Accessible Minivan
Last updated: September 2023
Once I passed my drivers license test to drive with hand controls, I was super excited to start shopping for a vehicle. I was excited to get back to what I knew as my regular life and enjoy car rides again. I was envisioning so many activities with my family especially my kids, like going for ice cream, to the movies and much more.
I’ve never owned a minivan, nor did I ever want to. I’ve just never been a fan. I’ve always been a big truck or jeep type of gal. I wanted a lot of space, for shopping and fitting big items but in a car that looked cool. So, when my husband suggested a minivan, I disagreed immediately! Ewww nooo! I started shopping all wrong and then came the educational part. Meeting with handicap accessible car dealerships and getting to the nitty gritty of what I truly needed.
Handicap accessible vehicles
Deciding on what vehicle to purchase became a family topic. I wanted my independence, but my independence depended on my health and my health seemed to change every day. Some days I was energetic, I could stand and cook for hours while doing laundry all while using my walker. Others day I was so weak I couldn’t open a bottle of water needed a wheelchair to get around. Finding a vehicle that could help accommodate both my good and bad days was important so me.
When shopping for a handicap accessible vehicle my needs had to come before my wants. For example, I need an easy entry vehicle that would be easy for me to transfer into the driver seat, but I wanted a small jeep that a wheelchair didn’t fit into. When it came to cost, let me just say that I was halted for months doing research on prices because I couldn’t comprehend how expensive this was going to be.
Even though they are programs that can help with purchasing a vehicle it was going to take an eternity to go through the process. I wanted a vehicle, but I didn’t want to wait 1-3 years for it. I had appointments, physical therapy, school events and kids to drive around. My responsibilities outweighed the option of going through a purchasing program.
Narrowing my options
Next, we set a budget for a vehicle and started shopping. I knew what type of hand maneuvers I needed to drive. I started looking for dealerships near me, Facebook market, Craigslist and other resources. I even contemplated buying a regular vehicle and adapting it through a third party but quickly realized that was even more expensive. Apart from buying the vehicle installing hand controls, wheelchair ramp and electronic seat it would cost around 20-30 thousand dollars extra.
It seemed like my options were narrowing down to minivans and I had to wrap my head around that. Since my experience with hand control driving was limited and this was going to my very first handicap accessible vehicle, I didn’t want to buy anything new.
Back on the road
A certified used handicap minivan that fulfilled my needs was the van we ended up purchasing. After I swore I’d never drive a minivan, there I was happily buying my iced coffee through a coffee shop. My happiness, independence, my emotions overcame any dislikes of driving a minivan.
The whole process of looking, educating myself and purchasing a car took about 1 year and seven months. Now I can gladly say I’m back on the road and with no fears or shame of driving a handicap accessible van!
Typically, how much time passes between attacks for you?