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Handicap Accessible Minivan

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.

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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!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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