As with a lot of things, when you have a disability, and you need to choose a new car, there are many additional requirements to take into consideration. Depending on your specific disability, these considerations will differ. Here are a few things to think about when you are choosing your new car.
Know What You Need
Before you go to the car dealership, sit down and make a list of all of the things that you need from your car. After all, if you do not know what you need, how can anyone else? If it helps, take someone else along with you. Many people, disabled or not, can be overwhelmed when it comes to all of the features a car has, so if you have someone who is a little more ‘au fait’ with cars, or is better at handling pushy salespeople, ask them to tag along with you.
Some things you might want to think about include:
Does your wheelchair fit into the car?
How will you get your wheelchair into the car – will you need a ramp or a hoist to help you?
Do you need adaptive controls?
Can you transfer easily from your wheelchair to the car seat?
Are the seats at the right height to help you maneuver in and out of the car comfortably and efficiently?
Can you reach all of the controls?
If you have an assistance dog, is there space for them in the car?
Test everything out
This sounds obvious, but it is so important that it is worth writing about. It is all well and good the salesperson telling you the seat swivel, and the trunk is easy to open, but is it easy for you? Ask if you can try putting your wheelchair in, ask if you can try sitting in control and take it for a test drive. If they don’t let you do this, move on to another dealership. There are more important things that you might be worrying about, and at Darras Law, they can give you all of the advice that you might need.
Do your research
Before heading to a car dealership, you may have been looking at cars available on the market for inspiration. As well as giving you an idea of the sort of vehicles you might want to look at in person. It will also let you know how much a new car is likely to cost. You may find it helpful to speak to people with similar disabilities to yourself – the internet can be a wonderful place for this! Join Facebook groups and forums and ask around to see what cars people recommend. You can also usually find forums for that particular car manufacturer, and you can ask people who already own the vehicle about specific things such as the size of the trunk on there.
You will need to also discuss with the dealership about fuel consumption, particularly if it has been adapted in any way, and the appropriate insurance you need to be able to drive it out on the road.