Vehicles, Driving & Vehicle Aids
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- Steps To Getting On The Road
- Choosing The Right Type Of WAV Or Vehicle
- Choosing The Right Type Of Vehicle As A Passenger
- Choosing The Right Vehicle - Transferring Into A Vehicle
- Transferring & Loading Wheelchair Into A Vehicle
- Types Of Vehicle Aids
- Hand Controls
- Transferring Into A Vehicle With Assistance
- Assistance loading Mobility Aid Into Vehicle
- Vehicle Aids For People Who Travel In Their Mobility Aids
- PrDP Licence
One of the biggest obstacles that many Persons with Mobility Impairments often encounter, is getting their independence back and being able to drive a vehicle or even being able to be transported in their own vehicle. Owning your own vehicle offers many benefits for Persons With Mobility Impairments. Thanks to the advances in technology, there are a variety of different types of equipment & adapted vehicles, which are available in South Africa and are supplied by companies such as Pro Mobility, Sitwell, Shoprider, Cape Mobility, Mobidrive, Skyjacks, Prima Care & Simplify Wheelchair Seating. These "Vehicle Aids, along with Organizations such as the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), QASA & Rolling Rehab, can help you get back on the road safely, thus giving the independence back to many Persons With Disabilities.
With the assistance of the links to web-sites such as Auto-Mobility & Rolling Rehab (see links on the left of page and below), this page will assist you to choose what type of Vehicles and "Vehicle Aids" would suite you & also put you into contact with the right people who can assist you to be able to learn to drive. This page also includes information about:
- Applying for Wheelchair Parking Permits
- Applying for a Vehicle Rebate, etc.
"Auto-Mobility is a comprehensive hub to driving in South Africa, for people with physical disabilities. Auto-Mobility addresses vital information to potential drivers with disabilities and offers information on a range of vehicle adaptations, giving solutions and opportunities to become mobile and independent. Auto-Mobility covers specific dimensions, features and benefits of selected vehicles. Visit: www.auto-mobility.co.za to find out more."
One of the biggest obstacles that many Persons with Mobility Impairments often encounter, is getting their independence back and being able to drive a vehicle or be transported in a vehicle. There are a variety of different types of equipment & adapted vehicles, which are available in South Africa to assist you to be able to drive, as well as some Occupational Therapists and Organizations such as The National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities, Rolling Rehab and QASA, which offer services such as Driver Training & Assessments, which can help you get back on the road safely, thus giving the independence back to many Persons With Disabilities.
"Rolling Rehab is an organization that is passionate about assisting people who have a disability & want to drive. "We understand that being unable to drive in South Africa is like having a prison sentence, so our aim is to assist people to get back their independence through safe driving. We offer an independent consultancy service where we do a holistic assessment of the individual’s needs and abilities, and advise whether they are safe to start driving or to continue driving after an accident or illness. We also make recommendations on what vehicles and adaptations are best suited to their needs. We believe that defensive driving is an essential skill for any driver who has reduced physical abilities and therefore we organize a number of defensive driving days throughout the year in partnership with an advanced driving academy." Visit: www.rollingrehab.co.za to find out more."
QASA: The QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA) is a non-profit organisation (NPO 000-881) of Quadriplegics and Paraplegics in South Africa. QASA’s mission is to be an effective “co-ordinating, policy-making and supporting organisation striving to prevent spinal cord injury and to improve the lives of quadriplegics and paraplegics by securing resources to advocate, educate, capacitate, support and mobilise.”
QASA now has six regions and has provincial organizations within QASA, which are able to assist it's members in a particular province. The six Regional Associations which are affiliated to QASA are: Gauteng South, Gauteng North, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, North West and KwaZulu-Natal. The QASA Management Board is made up of representatives of each Regional Association.
QASA runs a number of Projects and Services which include: Driver training in adapted vehicles; providing equipment such as Beach Wheelchairs to rent & Advocacy & lobbying; Conducting awareness campaigns on the cause and prevention of spinal cord injury; Publication and distribution of information on disability rights; Rural outreach; Developing social enterprises to sustain individuals and Regional Associations; Providing sport and hobby activities, Provision of transport, Provision of education bursaries and facilitating skills development through internships, Computer training, Consulting, Disability sensitizing and workshops.
QASA is sustained by strategic relationships with corporates, social enterprise, the National Lottery Commission and a number of campaigns & events. Some of QASA’s projects generate revenue which services the essential non-revenue generating projects. Read the article below to find out more about these Products that QASA rent out, or visit our Organizations - QASA Page. You can also contact them through their website at www.qasa.co.za.
Steps To Getting On The Road
Persons With Disabilities who want to be able to drive a vehicle or be able to be transported in their own vehicle, will need to overcome a few obstacles and make a few decisions, before they are able to purchase the correct vehicle and vehicle aids to suit their needs. They should also go for an assessment to make sure that it is safe for them to be driving a vehicle. These assessments can also assist you if you are a passenger in the vehicle. According to the Road Traffic Act there are some restrictions that prevent some people from qualifying to drive due to medical conditions. Chapter 4 of the Road traffic Act states that a person does not qualify to hold a drivers licence if they are affected by one of the following diseases or disabilities:
There is legislation's & Road Traffic Act’s in place, that you should take note of. To find out more about these, visit:
Should you qualify according to the above legislation's & Road Traffic Act’s, you will be required to go for an assessment to see if it is safe for you to be driving a vehicle. These assessments can also assist you if you are a passenger in the vehicle.
Assessment On Ability To Drive
An assessment is required, if your disability arises as a result of a neurological condition (e.g. Stroke or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)), or degenerative disease (e.g. Multiple Sclerosis or Muscular Dystrophy). Assessments are also a suitable safety check for responsible older drivers. Assessments are customized according to the client’s needs & cover all aspects of driving including:
- Assessment of physical ability to operate vehicle controls
- Cognitive Assessment – including perception, decision making, problem solving, and ability to multi-task, understanding and interpretation of the rules of the road.
- Reaction speed test
- Visual screening
- Visual Processing Speeds
- In car assessment
- On- road driving test
One Organization who offer these types assessments for Persons With Disabilities, is Rolling Rehab.
Once you have been assessed & passed to be able to learn to drive, you will be required to get your learners licence and to learn how to drive & pass your license. First time licensing procedures for Persons With Disabilities are exactly the same as for any other person applying for a licence. If a person had a normal licence and then developed a disability, which resulted in them requiring adaptations, or an automatic vehicle to enable them to drive, they are legally required to inform the licensing department and be re-tested. To find out more about "Licensing Procedures", visit: Auto-Mobility - Licensing Procedures
Persons With Disabilities who wish to learn to drive, will need to find a Driving School that can accommodate them. The Driving School would need to have an adapted vehicle to suit them, and they should specialize in teaching Persons With Disabilities to learn to drive. There are also various Organizations such as the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), QASA & Rolling Rehab, which can all teach Persons With Disabilities to learn to drive and can help them get back on the road safely, thus giving the independence back to many Persons With Disabilities.
Wheelchair Parking Bays & Disks are for persons who use wheelchairs and drive themselves or who are transported in a vehicle. These Wheelchair Parking Bays are set aside for wheelchair users & Persons With Disabilities. They are not only close to the entrance, but are also wider than the average parking bay. Wheelchair Parking Bays are traditionally 3500mm wide to cater for a wheelchair user who needs the extra space to enter or exit the vehicle. This extra space helps these transfers to be done safely for the wheelchair user & helps prevent the vehicle in the parking space near by from getting damaged. Persons who use these parking bays need to apply for a Wheelchair Parking Permit, also known as a "Disabled Parking Permit", "Handicapped Permit", "Disabled Placard" or "Disabled Badge", which is displayed on the vehicle upon parking it in one one of these bays. These Parking Permits can be registered & obtained from various Organizations such as the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) & QASA.
Choosing The Right Type Of WAV Or Vehicle
Persons who do not already have a vehicle will need to purchase a vehicle and get it adapted accordingly. If you are in a position to purchase a new vehicle that has been imported and has been or will be adapted to suite you, you may qualify for a Rebate on this vehicle. For many years the government has allowed a rebate on Customs Import Duties on imported vehicles and Ad Valorem Excise Duties on locally manufactured new vehicles for persons who have physical disabilities. To find out more about how to apply for a rebate and where and how to claim, contact Edwina Ludick on: Tel: +27 11 452 2774 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit Auto-Mobility & Rolling Rehab on the links below, to find out more about this, including the steps you need to follow & the forms you need to fill out:
Before choosing what type of vehicle to purchase, there is a lot to think about and consider. The page below will give you a step-by-step guide to choose the correct vehicle and adaptions that would suite you.
Persons who will be driving the vehicle from their wheelchair, or will remain in their wheelchair while being transported, will require a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV), which you can drive your wheelchair into and position in place. The WAV will therefore need to be spacious & the doorway will need to be wide & high enough for you to fit into. You will also need to decide whether you will require a vehicle that allows back or side entrance. Motorized Wheelchairs require a lot more height & space to maneuver, as apposed to Manual Wheelchairs. The height & space you require, will depend on your height & the type of Motorized Wheelchair you are using.
Choosing The Right WAV - Driving From Your Wheelchair
"Driving From a Wheelchair" provides a new level of freedom for persons who have difficulty transferring into a vehicle. It is only an option in vehicles with a flat floor and with adequate internal height to accommodate a person sitting in their wheelchair.
"When choosing this type of vehicle, the choice will be guided by the dimensions of the vehicle, in comparison with the height of the individual in their wheelchair, as well as the size of the wheelchair." You should also measure the internal height of the vehicle and compare that to the height of the person in their wheelchair. You will also need to consider the size of the door openings to see if you can fit a Wheelchair Lift and decide which type of Wheelchair Lift would suite you. Those who are going to use ramps, would need to measure the height of the floor from the ground, which will determine the length of the ramps that are going to be used. To find out more about this and to view the dimensions of the interior of the different vehicles available, click on the links below:
Rolling Rehab: Choosing a vehicle for its dimensions: Hatch Backs
Rolling Rehab: Choosing a vehicle for its dimensions: MPV's
Rolling Rehab: Choosing a vehicle for its dimensions: Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
"Driving From Wheelchair" conversions which are done in South Africa, are limited to the larger Mini Vans and Kombis, which have adequate internal height. It is not yet possible in South Africa to lower a floor all the way to the driver’s seat in the smaller vehicles like the Volkswagen Caddy. Having said this, there is a company called Cape Mobility, which imports smaller vehicles that have already been adapted, where "Driving From a Wheelchair" is possible, (see below for more details).
When purchasing a vehicle, it is often a challenge to find the right vehicle, as well as a motor dealer who is sympathetic to the needs of "Drivers With Disabilities". Persons With Disabilities who live Gauteng can view a list of dealers in Gauteng, who have been recommended by other Persons With Disabilities who have used them and have been happy with their service. If you would like to find out more about these dealers as well as some featured vehicles, you can visit:
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV's) - Readily Available
As mentioned above, there is a company in South Africa that supply a variety of smaller vehicles that have already been adapted and can be driven from a wheelchair or can be transferred into, to be able to drive. These vehicles are 2nd hand and are imported from England by Cape Mobility, who makes Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV's) readily available to you in South Africa. These WAV's are already converted and ready for you to drive. They have easy wheelchair access to give you the freedom to get out and about.
"The WAV's that we supply are mainly between 6 months and 5 years old and available from R180,000, landed in Cape Town including duties and VAT. These vehicles are imported by us from Motobility, a registered Charity in the UK with a fleet of 500,000 vehicles. Cape Mobility is dedicated to get the best available vehicle for you."
One of these vehicles, which can be driven from a wheelchair, is a Renault Kango "Drive From Wheelchair" vehicle, which has been donated to QASA and Driving Ambitions by Geoff Dear of Cape Mobility. This vehicle is appropriate for persons who would like to learn to drive from their wheelchair in the Johannesburg and Pretoria area. To view more information about this vehicle and "how it works", visit the YouTube video clip on the right. To find out more information about how you can purchase a similar vehicle, you contact Geoff Dear from Cape Mobility on the details below.
Cape Mobility also make transport accessible for wheelchair users, by offering a Vehicle Hire Self Drive Service. Their Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle is an adapted Volkswagen Caddy Maxi. You can visit our "Transport Service & Vehicle Hire" page or contact Cape Mobility to find out more.
To purchase one of their vehicles, you can contact Cape Mobility in Cape Town on: Tel: 021 979 1652 or Cell: 072 042 8988 or you can send your inquiries to: email@example.com or visit them at: 102B De Keur Street, Vierlanden, Durbanville, 7550, Cape Town, South Africa. Visit their website below to find out more: www.capemobility.co.za
To find more about "Driving From A Wheelchair", click on the links below:
Choosing The Right Type Of Vehicle As A Passenger
Persons who will not be driving the vehicle, but will be traveling in their wheelchair as a passenger, have a number of vehicles to choose from, including any of the vehicles mentioned above, as well as some slightly smaller vehicles. These smaller vehicles can be adapted in South Africa to include a "Lowered Floor" to allow for more head room.
Vehicles With Lowered Floors - Passenger
These Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV's) are vehicles such as the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi, which is the ideal "Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle" for this purpose. It enables a person to move into the vehicle while seated in their wheelchair. These vehicles are easier to drive & are lighter on fuel than the bigger vehicles mentioned above. The lower floor gives adequate internal height to accommodate a person sitting in their wheelchair as a passenger.
There are a number of companies in South Africa such as Shoprider which can do a lowered floor conversion on vehicles such as the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi, Crewbus or Trendline. Cape Mobility mentioned above can also import these and similar vehicles. A section of the floor is lowered and a ramp is fitted to give easy access into the vehicle. These vehicles come with the option of a shorter ramp in combination with a lowered suspension, or a longer ramp with the standard suspension. These rear entry wheelchair vans provide an economically friendly accessible option that takes the worry out of narrow aisle ways and other side entry limitations. Back entry lowered floor conversions are seamlessly engineered to make wheelchair minivans as barrier-free as possible. The conversion enhances the resale price of the vehicle and can also be undertaken on pre-owned vehicles. To find out more about these and other options, visit: Auto-Mobility: Featured Vehicles
If you will be transferring into the vehicle, while driving or being transported?
Choosing The Right Vehicle - Transferring Into A Vehicle
Persons who are able to transfer into a vehicle, should consider buying a vehicle that is a similar height to their wheelchair, including one that has a drivers door that opens relatively wide. Most Persons With Physical Disabilities require an automatic vehicle, as this simplifies the driving process and reduces the number of actions required at any one time. An automatic vehicle is therefore a lot easier to drive.
Each disability is unique and every driver has different strengths, weakness and requirements. The choice of the vehicle and the way that it is adapted, should therefore be customized according to the individual. To find more about this, visit either:
- Auto-Mobility: Choosing The Right Vehicle
- Auto-Mobility: Wheelchair Car Select
- Rolling Rehab: Selecting A Vehicle
It is also very important to have correct positioning and set-up in the vehicle, the correct positioning in the vehicle can help to optimize the physical function of drivers who have limited body function. This can make the difference between having the physical ability to avoid an emergency situation, compared with finding that they are trapped and unable to escape as a result of not having the agility to manoeuvre their vehicle out of harm’s way. To find out more about Driver Positioning & Set- Up, visit the link below:
If you will be transferring into your vehicle manually.
Transferring & Loading Wheelchair Into A Vehicle
When driving or traveling in a motor vehicle, some persons with Mobility Impairments who use wheelchairs or other similar Mobility Aids, do not travel in there Mobility Aids, they therefore need to transfer into the vehicle from their wheelchair or other Mobility Aid. Some persons with Mobility Impairments are lucky enough to be able to transfer themselves without assistance.
Transferring into a vehicle manually often looks easy but can be very difficult when first starting off. A person will need to develop a technique according to their individual abilities. After much practice, transferring can become easier. To find out more about "Transferring into a Vehicle", visit: Auto-Mobility: Transfer Into Vehicle
Loading Mobility Aid Into Vehicle Manually
Persons With Mobility Impairments who travel in a vehicle and use Mobility Aids such as wheelchairs and who are able to transfer themselves into a vehicle, but do not have help putting their wheelchair into their vehicle, will have to learn to transfer their mobility aid into and out of the vehicle. This can be done manually or with the assistance of equipment such as hoists.
Learning the correct way of manually loading your wheelchair into and out of your vehicle, is the final touch to being independent, but if not done correctly, can cause long term damage to the shoulders which can ultimately threaten your independence. Each person is different, so you will need to learn how to do this according to your individual abilities, wheelchair and type of vehicle you own. To find out the correct way to load your manual wheelchair, visit:
Once you have chosen a vehicle that suits your needs, you will have to decide what Vehicle Aids would suit you, including the Hand Controls, as well as the equipment that can help you to transfer yourself and your Mobility Aid into the vehicle.
Types Of Vehicle Aids
There are a wide variety of different types of these Vehicle Aids to choose from, but each person is unique & therefore requires a different solution. Organizations such as Rolling Rehab can assist you to choose the right equipment to suite you, while companies such as Pro Mobility, Sitwell, Shoprider, Cape Mobility, Mobidrive, Skyjacks, Prima Care & Simplify Wheelchair Seating offer a wide variety of solutions and can also advise you on what Vehicles or Vehicle Aids would best suit your needs. Some of these companies can also install and service this equipment they supply if the need arises.
"Pro Mobility: are Authorised Agents for Autochair and Ardoo Products in South Africa. Pro Mobility provides leading-edge services and solutions to those with mobility and agility impairments or limitations. With first class service and support, we cater individually to each of our clients to find the best accessible solutions according to their mobility needs."
Pro Mobility has their main branch in Durban, but have opened branches in Johannesburg & Cape Town. You can contact them on: Cell: +27 (0) 83 775 0611 or Email them on: firstname.lastname@example.org or via their web site: www.pro-mobility.co.za Durban Address: PO Box 2123 Westville, Kwa-Zulu Natal, 3630, South Africa.
"Shoprider™: Represents the range of electric mobility scooters and wheelchairs manufactured by the Pihsiang Corporation in Taiwan. Pihsiang's manufacturing plants have been certified for ISO 9001, ISO14001 and ISO 13485 standards.
For the last 30 years Shoprider SA has been serving the Southern African market from Centurion in Gauteng, and as the business and market has grown, we have added representatives in key areas. Shoprider SA carries a full range of stock items which is held at our centrally located, workshop/showroom in Centurion. Shipment of parts and scooters to anywhere in the Southern African continent is not a problem. We believe that our after sales service and support give Shoprider South Africa the competitive edge when it comes to customer satisfaction and our ongoing commitment to quality control. We keep a full compliment of spares on site at all times to ensure that our customers are not left stranded. Our technicians are fully trained, offering in-house service and manufacturing where needed. All our work is guaranteed. At Shoprider South Africa, we are passionate about providing you with the perfect portable scooter or wheelchair, giving you the personalised mobility and flexibility you need. In partnering with top European and US manufacturers, we have expanded our services to include vehicle conversions for easy and practical transporting of your portable mobility scooter or electric wheelchair. You can contact Shoprider at: Tel: (012) 653 1168 or Email: email@example.com or www.shoprider.co.za or Address: 70 Jakaranda street, 13 Diamond park, Hennopspark, Centurion, Gauteng.
Simplify Wheelchair Seating: specializes in providing a wide variety of products and services for persons with Mobility Impairments in Cape Town. Simplify Wheelchair Seating is owned and run by Antoinette Pienaar who has been in the wheelchair business for the last 8 years. “I believe in providing an honest and reliable service to our clients and their families in the comfort of their own homes, we will visit you in your home to access what you require and will provide you with the best products to suit your needs at very competitive prices, giving you peace of mind and ensuring that your life is as comfortable as possible. We supply and Service a variety of products including Mobility aids, Transfer aids, Pressure care products and Bathroom Aids. We also stock spares for these products and specialize in providing seating and positioning to make sure that you correctly positioned in your wheelchair. Please feel free to contact us for a quote or assessment, you can contact me on my cell: 084 866 5763 or landline : 021 981 0569 or contact me via my website at: www.simplifywheelchairseating.co.za or on my facebook or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sitwell Technologies: are Specialists in the provision of Mobility & Assistive Aid Equipment for persons with physical disabilities. Sitwell Technologies represent all local suppliers as well as a number of International manufacturers of equipment, providing an unbiased view of all products available to the South African market. Their approach to Mobility is about providing a holistic solution to each individual’s needs. Sitwell Technologies are based in Johannesburg but can provide products throughout South Africa. You can contact them at: Tel: (+27) 11 440 8226 or email: email@example.com or www.sitwell.co.za Address: 128 Athol Street, Waverly, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2090.
Mobidrive: Being mobile is one of the most essential needs for any disabled person. Mobidrive portable hand controls for disabled drivers was designed by a paraplegic for paraplegics. Mobidrive provides you with the opportunity to become mobile again in a fast and cost effective efficient way. With our portable hand controls you can experience a lifetime of driving freedom in a matter of minutes, they are easy to install on left-hand drive, as well as right-hand drive motor vehicles and can be adjusted to fit any car and used by disabled as well as able-bodied people. Mobidrive Portable hand controls can easily be transferred between vehicles and are designed for use in vehicles with automatic transmissions by individuals with normal upper body strength and coordination, they are engineered from durable stainless steel and should last a lifetime, as they are also easily transferred from one vehicle to another and fit all makes and models.
Don’t let your disability stop you from driving a car, contact Mobidrive on: Cell: +27 76 500 7216 or send your inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively visit our website to purchase our products or to find out more: www.mobidrive.co.za. We currently ship our portable hand controls worldwide.
Skyjacks Wheelchair & Commercial Lifts (Pty) Ltd, has been developing and manufacturing Wheelchair Lifts and Commercial Lifts for the South African market since 1999. Our product was developed by Victor Panaino who has been designing and manufacturing hydraulic lifting systems for 20 years. Our extensive knowledge of product development, business and manufacturing systems has proven itself in the challenging environment of South Africa. Our business ethos is to design lifts around the market requirements, specializing in customer feedback analysis, in-house on the floor design testing and stringent quality checks. We can proudly state that our Wheelchair Lifts and Commercial Lifts have been manufactured from world class materials by our companies trained personnel.
We offer on site fitment and servicing for all our products including:
- Roof Mounted Wheelchair Lifts
- Single Arm Wheelchair Lifts
- Double Arm Wheelchair Lift
- Wheelchair Tie-down Systems & Safety Belts
On site fitment and servicing is offered on all our products in all major cities in South Africa, contact Skyjacks at: Tel: +27 (0)11 902 0191, Cell: +27 (0)60 989 5840 or email: email@example.com or visit their website at: www.swclifts.com
Prima Care: specializes in providing a wide variety of products and services for persons with disabilities in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria and throughout South Africa! They are a Home care, Hospital & Medical Equipment Provider and have Health Care Consultants with many years of experience and extensive knowledge to assess your needs and help you choose the products best suited for you. “We pride ourselves in supplying high quality products from trusted and well known German and other suppliers. These products include a variety of Pediatric Equipment, Adjustable Beds, Hospital Beds, Home Care Beds, Mobility Scooters, Oxygen Concentrators, Alternating Pressure Mattresses, Anti-Bedsore Mattresses, Ripple Mattress, Walkers, Rollators, Mobility Aids, Wheelchairs, Wheelchair Cushions, Wheelchair Ramps, Power Wheelchairs, Rise Recliners, Grab Rails, Bed Rails, Shower Aids, Commodes, Toilet Aids and much more. Our locations are staffed with certified fitters who offer private services in our stores or in the convenience of your own home. We also supply speedy delivery of our products and good after sales service, with trained technicians and a vast range of spare parts available to ensure that our products exceed their life span. Prima Care also rent out a variety of products to those clients that may only need the product for a limited period of time, therefore accommodating our clients’ needs to ensure their funds are maximized to their full potential. Please feel free to contact a Prima Care professional to assist, you can contact us on: +27 (021) 555 1596, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our web site at: www.primacare.co.za to see our extensive catalog of products which we deliver country wide to your door!
If you will be driving the vehicle, you will need to choose Hand Controls to suite you, your disability & the type of vehicle you have chosen.
There is a wide range of specialist controls, from simple attachments such as wider mirrors and steering knobs to more elaborate controls that make it possible for almost anyone to drive as long as they meet the requirements for a driver's licence. Some types of driving controls can be permanently fitted, while others are portable and do not require specialist fitting. Foot pedals can be raised, or replaced with hand-controlled devices. Hand Controls are used for those individuals that have the ability to drive, but have limited or no use of their legs. Hand Controls can be fitted to most types of vehicles and are available from a variety of companies, including Shoprider & Mobidrive. Contact one of these companies to find out about the different types of driving controls that they sell, or click on the link below, or the “Vehicle Aids” button on the Top Left to find out more about these companies and the products that they supply, as well as the equipment that will work with each individuals needs, making driving safe for all drivers.
If you will need assistance to transfer into your vehicle.
Transferring Into A Vehicle With Assistance
Some Persons With Mobility Impairments may require assistance to transfer into or out of a vehicle, this may require the assistance of 1 or 2 people to manually transfer that person, but this can be made easier thanks to a number of different types of equipment including:
- Transfer Boards
- Transfer Turntable
- Swivel Seat For Car Seat
- Swivel Seats
- Top Slider
- The Ardoo Caresafe 140 hoist
- The Smart Transfer Person Lift
If you will be needing assistance to load you mobility aid.
Persons who are able to drive and transfer themselves into their car, but are unable to transfer their Mobility Aid into their car, may require a Vehicle Aid to assist them. There are a variety of these Vehicle Aids which can assist you, including:
- Roof Top Lifts
- Hoist For Loading Mobility Aids Through The Sliding Door
You should find one that suites you and your vehicle as well as the type of Mobility Aid that you use. Being able to drive and transfer yourself and your wheelchair is the final touch to being independent.
Roof Top Lifts
Persons who use a folding manual wheelchair and need help to load their wheelchair into their car, may find that a Roof Top Lift is an option for them. A Roof Top Lift is a hoist that lifts the wheelchair onto the roof of the car & stores it there. When using a Roof Top Lift, the need to store your wheelchair in the trunk, passenger seat or backseat is eliminated, thus allowing family and friends to enjoy the comfort of your vehicle. These Roof Mounted Lifts are designed to be operated & used by independent Persons With Disabilities, who want the ease of stowing their wheelchair away without assistance. Roof Top Lifts can also prevent injury, as long term loading of wheelchairs may often cause strains and injuries. Roof Top Lifts do however only work with folding manual wheelchairs & can add a lot to the fuel consumption of the vehicle due to wind resistance caused by the wheelchair or the compartment in which the wheelchair is stored.
There are 2 types of Roof Top Lifts available in South Africa, including:
- Roof Mounted Wheelchair Lifts - Which can be retrofitted to most models of sedans and hatch back vehicles and is securely mounted onto roof racks. The control toggle switch is positioned near the vehicles steering controls for ease of use by the driver. Unfortunately this Vehicle Aid does leave the wheelchair exposed to the elements during transport.
- A Chair Topper - Is designed to fit a wide variety of vehicles, it automatically folds and stores a conventional folding wheelchair inside a stylish, weather-resistant car-top compartment.
Loading Mobility Aids Through The Sliding Door
Vehicles that have sliding doors can accommodate other Vehicle Aids which can assist you to load Scooters, Motorized Wheelchairs or Manual Wheelchairs into your vehicle. Companies such as Shoprider can supply a hoist that pulls or lifts the Mobility Aid into the vehicle behind the drivers seat. The door width should be 80mm wider than the width of the Mobility Aid, and 150mm higher than the height of the Mobility Aid. To find out more about this type of equipment, visit the following link below:
If you have assistance to load your Wheelchair, Scooter or Motorized Wheelchair, but you need to transport them.
Rear Wheelchair Carriers & Powered Wheelchairs & Scooter Lifts
There are a number of options for Persons With Mobility Impairments, who have assistance from someone to load their Mobility
Aid, once they have transferred into the vehicle. These options require that the Wheelchair or Scooter is loaded & transported at the back of the vehicle, either in the boot or on a unit attached to a hitch on the back of the vehicle. This may require drilling into the trunk or storage space of the vehicle, or wiring the unit directly to the car battery. It is recommended that you get a reputable auto mechanic to do this, but some suppliers include the option of an expert installation, and will coordinate the entire installation process. There are a few of these types of options available, including:
- Tail Lifts & Wheelchair Racks
- Boot Hoists
If you remain in your wheelchair, while driving or being transported.
Vehicle Aids For People Who Travel In Their Mobility Aids
Persons who will be remaining in their wheelchair while being transported, will require a Vehicle Aid to be able to load their Mobility Aid and themselves into the vehicle. There are two options available and these are:
- Wheelchair Lifts For Vehicles
- Wheelchair Ramps For Vehicles
Both of these options have their Pro's and Con's and the decision of which one to purchase, should be based on the:
- amount of independence you require
- type of vehicle you are using
- type of Mobility Aid you use
- amount of money that you are able to spend
You will also require a Wheelchair Restraint System installed in the vehicle to make sure that you and your Mobility Aid does not move around in the vehicle, while you are being transported.
Wheelchair Lifts For Vehicles
Wheelchair Lifts also known as Hydraulic Lifts are fully powered devices designed to raise persons in Wheelchairs or sometimes Scooters into a vehicle which has adequate internal height and a doorway which is wide enough. There are a variety of Wheelchair Lifts available, depending on the type of vehicle that you will be using & the entry point, as well as the weight & size of the Mobility Aid that you will be using. Wheelchair Lifts also come in various sizes and can either be installed on the side or back of the vehicle. Some Vehicle Lifts come with an extension, which gives extra space to load a longer Motorized Wheelchair or Scooter.
Advantages of using a Wheelchair Lift versus a Ramp, is that a Wheelchair Lift can be controlled by the person in the wheelchair therefore making them more independent. The appropriate Hand Controls, along with a Wheelchair Lift to get you and your wheelchair into the vehicle, make it possible for persons with even severe Mobility Impairments to be able to drive and become completely independent. There are two types of Wheelchair Lifts installed on Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicles, they are:
- Single-Arm Wheelchair Lifts
- Dual-Arm Wheelchair Lifts
Wheelchair Ramps For Vehicles
A Wheelchair Ramp for a Vehicle is an inclined plane installed to assist persons using Wheelchairs, Scooters, Walkers or other Mobility Aids to easily access slightly larger motor vehicles, such as a Kombi's, Vans or even a vehicle such as the Volkswagen Caddy. Wheelchair Ramps are ideal for persons who have assistance to get into & out of the vehicle, as most types of Ramps sold in South Africa, are not automatic. The Ramps that are available in South Africa are less expensive than Wheelchair Lifts, but serve a similar purpose. Many of these Ramps that can be used for vehicles, can also be used in or outside of a home to navigate steps. Wheelchair Ramps for Vehicles come in a variety of different types, including:
- Roll-A-Ramp: Automatic Ramps
- Roll-A-Ramp: Manual Ramps
- Roll-up Ramps
- Telescopic Ramps
- Folding Ramps
- Solid Ramps
Wheelchair Restraint Systems
Wheelchair Restraint Systems are the devices used to secure a person and their Mobility Aid into a vehicle, if they are going to be transported while remaining in their Mobility Aid. These Vehicle Aids are extremely important to prevent the Mobility Aid from moving around and to secure the person in their Mobility Aid, especially during an accident or an emergency stop. There are a wide range of Wheelchair Restraint options to choose from, with each having it's pro's & con's, depending on whether you are driving or will have somebody assisting to secure you in the vehicle. The most important thing to remember, is safety, so it is important to double check all of your connecting points before departing. This is not only necessary for the person in the Mobility Aid, but also for the safety of everyone else in the vehicle. Some Mobility Aids are manufactured with special hooks that can be used in the securing process. If these hooks don't exist, it is important to use a part of the Mobility Aid that is strong and secure & will not be damaged by the securing process.
Persons who are going to drive a vehicle & transport Persons with Disabilities, should apply for a PrDP Licence. A Professional Driving Permit (PrDP) is required to drive public transport and heavy duty vehicles, such as taxis, buses and breakdown vehicles. To transport passengers for an income you must have a Professional Driving Permit (PrDP). Before it was called a PrDP, a Professional Driving Permit was originally called a Public Drivers Permit (PDP) which was issued to drivers before 1998.
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