The holiday season is just around the corner, and with it may come some extra days off from work (whether for yourself or your family and friends). While some use the extra days to stay home and relax, others pack their bags and hit the road for sightseeing and adventures. For the people in your life that use a wheelchair, or perhaps it’s yourself, packing right and light is helpful for getting around. There are a lot of factors at hand for a trip to go smoothly: planning, being prepared in cases of emergency, and the right know-how will help if any delays or problems come into play. With these accessible vehicle road trip tips, you’ll be able to more easily brush off surprises on your holiday excursion.
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
Chances are, you have an accessible vehicle fitted to your specific needs. But, if you don’t have one, don’t rule one out to obtain—or more specifically rent. It’s possible to rent a wheelchair accessible car, SUV, or minivan that will ensure a comfortable ride for everyone in tow. Since you may be spending long hours in the vehicle, it’s best to choose one that will comfortably seat you and your family. Also, be sure to ask if regular maintenance has been kept up. Procedures like getting the oil changed and checking tire pressure are standard, but accessible vehicles also need to be serviced for debris-free door tracks, smooth van ramps, and working power seats. Having the highest quality vehicle service will take your road trip to the next level and help ensure safe travels to wherever you go.
Plan for Everything in Your Accessible Car
Especially in the winter, your road trip plans need to be chock-full of information and supportive of your needs. While you probably already know to check for ADA approved and wheelchair access accommodations at your hotel and destination, you should also make note of accessible rest stops on the way. When hunger, drowsiness, or any other emergencies hit, you’ll be able to identify the right places to stop at. More importantly, an emergency kit with food, water, and other basic necessities in your vehicle is a must to give you peace of mind in any scenario. If you have specific medical or dietary needs, stow away medications and foods that will be able to sustain you, instead of making you scramble for last-minute solutions. For road trips in colder climates, a small folding shovel, basic tool kit, antifreeze, warning flares, and the like are all good items to have as well.
Engage with Everyone on the Road
If you are a person that uses the wheelchair and will be driving the mobility equipped vehicle, it can get tiring not exercising other parts of your mind. To stay alert and focused, talk to the person in the passenger’s seat and have him or her relay directions to you. If you have a child that uses a wheelchair, giving them customized road trip games that will keep him or her entertained. Games like Spot It or counting colored cars can make drive time a breeze and engage everyone. Driving safely is your number one concern.
In cold or warm climates, NMEDA hopes you drive safely this holiday season and you keep these accessible vehicle tips in mind.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers. Find a mobility equipment dealer near you: https://nmeda.org/consumer-resources/dealer-locator/